Having been forced to shield following the outbreak of Covid-19, Samuel Thorne’s family had noticed his increasing frustration and were keen for him to regain some independence as restrictions lifted. With the support of ECL, Samuel has now secured paid employment and a new sense of direction, working 15 hours a week in his dream job.


"Samuel is thoroughly enjoying the job and I’ve noticed a change in him, too."

A popular Day Services customer at ECL Greenacres, Samuel, a young man with autism, had undertaken extensive vocational training while volunteering in the site’s kitchen five days a week. During this time he’d gained a wealth of practical experience but unfortunately, the emergence of the global pandemic meant that his progress was suddenly halted when he was advised to shield.

After a prolonged period of self-isolation, Samuel’s family could see that he was becoming increasingly fed up and knew he needed a focus. Samuel’s dad Julian says, “It’s been a tough couple of years for Samuel, boredom definitely set in after a while and he was beginning to get very frustrated, so I had a long chat with one of ECL’s Inclusive Employment Consultants and she said that she could help him to find work.”

Seeing how at ease he felt in the kitchen, Inclusive Employment Consultant Caroline Giess began searching for similar roles and came across a position with Sanctus which she thought would be ideal. She says, “Samuel was keen to work in a familiar kitchen environment having learnt a host of transferable skills at Greenacres, so when a porter opportunity came up with Sanctus, I knew it would be a perfect fit. I worked closely with our Day Services staff to prepare him for the transition to paid employment – prepping his CV, practicing interview techniques, and making sure he felt comfortable throughout the process.”

Their team effort paid off and, after a brilliant interview, Samuel was offered a trial. Suitably impressed by his dedication over the initial four-week period, Sanctus didn’t hesitate to take him on as a permanent employee and he now works an impressive 15 hours each week. Samuel says, “Although I miss Greenacres, I’m happy to be working and feel much more independent. Caroline gave me lots of help to get settled, creating an easy read task list to follow so I’d feel confident doing the job and carrying out some travel training with me, which means I can walk to and from shifts on my own. I even have a sustainment officer that checks in with me to make sure the job continues to go well”

“As a naturally shy character, one of my main aims with Samuel once he’d secured the job was to give him faith in his own abilities and encourage him to foster positive relationships with his new colleagues,” adds Caroline. “By equipping him with the tools he needs to succeed at work, he’s found a renewed sense of purpose and it’s been fantastic to watch him come out of his shell.”

Julian is equally delighted with his son’s progress, “Samuel is thoroughly enjoying the job and I’ve noticed a change in him, too - he’s much chattier and his confidence has really grown. Caroline and all at ECL have been great, supporting Samuel whilst working and helping so much with his CV and interview techniques. Without their professional support I doubt we would have been able to get him to this point. All I can say is thank you Caroline, you're an absolute star, and thank you to the rest of the brilliant bunch at ECL.”

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ECL’s team of Inclusive Employment Consultants work with individuals to develop their skills, confidence, and work experience in order for them to be able to realise their career ambitions.

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