Ali was a 24 year old man with moderate learning difficulties who was unemployed with no previous work experience. Although he had been to college Ali did not have many formal qualifications.

Before joining the programme Ali was not receiving any support with seeking work. However, Ali was very positive in his outlook and was very keen to find employment within the retail sector, preferably within a clothing or shoe shop.

Ali is a responsible and motivated individual but was lacking in confidence. Initially he was not keen on meeting new people and required support communicating with new people. Ali can read but due to his learning disability he needs support with literacy skills and numeracy in the workplace. He also experiences some co-ordination difficulties. Ideally Ali needs to be shown how to do new tasks and may require initial one to one support. Ali also requires support with travelling independently if outside his local area.

To build his confidence Ali was initially found a volunteer placement at a local charity shop where he was supported one to one by a job coach and given the opportunity to learn the basics of retail in a highly supportive environment. This gave Ali a soft introduction to retail concepts such as stock rotation, labelling, maintaining displays and customer services.

Once he felt ready for the next step, a placement was set up for Ali at Shoe Zone so he could have the opportunity to increase his work experience within a faster moving retail environment. At the beginning of his placement Ali was supported by an Ellingham Job Coach who provided 1-2-1 support and helped him learn the role.

Although he worked slowly at first, the employer reported that Ali’s reliability and attitude had been excellent. At this point Ali’s advisor began negotiating with the employer to see if they could offer Ali paid work. A change of manager at the store appeared to have ended this possibility, however shortly afterwards Ali reported to his advisor that he’d been asked to work an extra shift as the shop was short staffed.

At this point Ali’s advisor began to advocate hard on his behalf – pointing out that Ali was now regarded as “needed” and therefore was entitled to be paid for his efforts. Shoe Zone agreed and arranged to employ Ali part time. Ali has secured part time employment at Shoe Zone as a Sales/Stock Assistant and is very much enjoying his role.

Ali is proud of his achievements to date and feels he has gained a lot of confidence through this process. Ali’s family are also thrilled and relieved that he has been able to fulfil his potential by securing a job and beginning his working life.

Ali’s next objective is to increase his hours and develop into a full-time role at Shoe Zone. We are continuing to support Ali to ensure that he is able to sustain his employment and continue to develop his skills at an appropriate rate.