We need to try hard and understand people with disabilities, to take the time to get to know them as individuals. We need to be supportive because there is a place in this world for everybody. Above all, we need to be positive and have a can do attitude, only then we will have a firmly inclusive society
Training & HR Coordinator
We help people with intellectual disabilities by teaching them skills in a working factory with commercially competitive contracts. They can learn skills they can use in many work environments. We are people focused, it is all about the team and not about making profits. That is our biggest success, to see them achieve something so they are able to choose whether to go on and work somewhere else. It is very rewarding and the customers we have are very supportive.
The money that comes in, goes back into training. We want to make things better for the employees and offer them new opportunities. We receive funding but it is only a contribution We would like to grow bigger and be completely sustainable that is why the working contracts are so important.
We try to get people, society and employers, to understand that they can work just like anybody else. We are always looking for employers that can give opportunities to the people we train here. We would like others to see that they can actually do it, and do it very well. Sometimes they only need an opportunity, somebody to believe in them.
Because Kilmarnock is a working factory with commercially competitive contracts, we have to do the work the way the customer wants it or we could lose contracts if we don’t do so. We aim to maintain high standards of work. Our employees get genuine work experience. We try to adapt the workflow to the individual. Sometimes you give one or two instructions at a time to make sure they are before you add on the next instruction. Other times we use videos to show the steps. It’s important to remember that everyone learns differently. There are many different areas in the factory so the team can try all sorts. We all have different strengths but here we are empowered to try everything.
Employees who have been through our health and safety and health and well-being programme then have the confidence to explore other employment options. We offer on-going support for a while just until they are settled in a new job and we are able to pull away. I think that is the biggest barrier. Employers are scared to hire people with disabilities because they don’t know how to give them that support.
Everyone who comes in has a work trial and during that month’s trial we try to get to know them and understand their disability. It is easy to say somebody has Down syndrome but you need to understand how it affects that person individually. We do an assessment to try to see how their particular disability affects them, and then we work with them. It is so nice that we are able to work one on one, and the supervisors put such a lot of effort into it to try to understand what their challenges are, to understand how they learn and how they best understand things.
Paid employment gives people with disabilities the opportunity to become self-confident, independent, and live a fulfilling life in the community. They just need someone to help them and give them a chance.