29-year-old Rhys is an ambitious environmentalist with a talent for upcycling – he also happens to have a learning disability. Fiercely independent and incredibly determined, this industrious young man wasn’t going to let a global pandemic deter him from finding work. Just eight days after enlisting the help of ECL’s Inclusive Employment team Rhys was snapped up by a local garden centre and is continuing to bloom there…
"This is a great job and I thoroughly enjoy coming here – I can’t think of anything I don’t like! It plays to my strengths and I’m given the space to complete my tasks in the order and timeframe that works best for me. I am so pleased that I had Lauren’s support in finding work that really suits me."
Having gained a window into the world of work through previous gardening, retail, and catering roles, Rhys knew that he wanted to find more permanent paid employment but lacked the confidence to seek out new opportunities alone. Luckily, ECL Inclusive Employment Consultant Lauren was on hand to support him in his search.
After spending time getting to know Rhys and developing an understanding of his needs, as well as getting invaluable insight into what made him tick, Lauren was able to identify the environments in which he would thrive and was soon setting him up with a trial shift at a local garden centre. From day one, the on-site team were so impressed with his diligence and hard work that they immediately invited him back, and neither Rhys nor his employer have looked back since.
As with all of ECL’s Inclusive Employment customers, Rhys was initially given assistance with arranging the necessary documentation, organising pay, and ensuring the appropriate risk assessments had been carried out at his new workplace, as well as being given the option of receiving additional on-the-job coaching. However, his previous experience and positive, can-do attitude meant that he excelled from the outset with minimal input from Lauren.
For three hours a day, three days a week he now maintains the grounds of contractor Aplex at Brentwood Garden Centre, as well as carrying out general maintenance of the site. Rhys is called upon for everything from cutting trees and picking up litter, to sweeping, potting, and dead heading, taking every new challenge in his stride. “I am very proud of Rhys and how far he has progressed,” says Brett, one of the directors at Aplex. “I am so impressed with the level of work he can achieve in every shift”.
Rhys is equally delighted to have found a job he loves. “This is a great job and I thoroughly enjoy coming here – I can’t think of anything I don’t like!” he says. “It plays to my strengths and I’m given the space to complete my tasks in the order and timeframe that works best for me. I am so pleased that I had Lauren’s support in finding work that really suits me. She’s been a big help and my confidence has definitely improved since I was introduced to the Inclusive Employment scheme.”