Local businesses invited to learn more about employing someone with Down’s syndrome

By Anita Jaynes on 3 February, 2022

Employers in the Swindon and wider Wiltshire area are being invited to an online event to find out how they may be able to offer employment to someone who has Down’s syndrome. 

The Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group and the Down’s Syndrome Association’s WorkFit programme are hosting the event on Thursday 3rd March at 9am. It will be held on Zoom so anyone can join once registered, and work can be anything from paid jobs, volunteering roles, work experience or traineeships. 

Roy Perrett from Devizes works two days a week as the WorkFit Liaison Officer for the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group, he said, “We welcome any prospective employers to join the online event and find out how they may be able to offer meaningful employment, training and workplace skills to someone who has Down’s syndrome. We want employers to think about people’s abilities rather than their disabilities. Even if you think you can only offer a few hours a week, we’d love for you to come and hear more from current employers and employees. From office staff to retail workers, civil servants to scaffolders, there are a breadth of candidates looking for a range of roles in the area.”

Speaking at the event will be Todd Scanlon and his employer Martyn Coles. Todd, 32 from Swindon, has worked for Coles Scaffolding for more than three years. He was helped by the WorkFit scheme when he first started and has now been made a permanent member of staff. In 2019, Todd won a national award after receiving the most public votes for ‘best apprentice’ at the On The Tools Awards. 

Luke, who has Down’s syndrome and is employed at Wiltshire Police, will also be speaking alongside his previous boss. They will be there to give another perspective on how the WorkFit scheme has worked for them, and even expanded within the force.

Pictured left: Luke employee at Wiltshire Police

Since 2015, the partnership between the Down Syndrome Association’s WorkFit programme and the Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group has been providing a tailored employment programme for people who have the condition in Swindon and Wiltshire. It is a service dedicated to training employers about the learning profile of people who have Down’s syndrome so that they can be supported in the workplace both before employment and after. 

The online event for prospective employers is taking place on Thursday 3rd March from 9-10am. To book a place for the event and receive the Zoom information, email: chair@swindondownsgroup.org.uk

Pictured above: Todd Scanlon, employee at Swindon’s Coles Scaffolding