"When I first came to Pluss I did a traineeship. I really enjoyed it, then I started to come here one day a week – a foot in the door. I really started to come out of myself again.
"I’d had a few bad experiences before where I had been left by myself, not knowing what I was doing. Now, I am working with people. They can leave me to get on with a job, but I am closer to them. Now I work wonders. I am very precise. I have a very good memory and know all the Italian names of our products (it’s an Italian brand). Andy can leave me to get on and if I need any help, I can go to the team. That’s the key and what I didn’t have before.
"I have got Aspergers Syndrome but I am an intelligent person. I am like any other guy and my condition is part of who I am – but really I am no different to any other person.
"I love my job. It’s rewarding. I didn’t feel I was achieving anything before. I was taking one step forward, then one step backwards.
"I was on Job Seekers Allowance for a while but I didn’t enjoy it; I hated it. It was depressing. You feel like you are taking off the state and it made me feel bad. I felt very depressed. I would go to the job centre to sign on but I didn’t feel like I was being supported. I didn't feel I was getting anywhere. Still I didn't let it get the better of me. I moved on. Working is so much better – you earn more as well.
"Now I feel I have really progressed. I am at a company that wants to achieve things. I needed a lift and it’s a great fit. It has really lifted my confidence and changed my life because I wake up every morning, do what I got to do and get ready for work.
"It's worked out great. I am loving it. I love working here and I always go home with a smile on my face. All I needed was the opportunity to showcase my ability – it’s all there!"
Andy, Ben's Supervisor, Red Hot Hair Products
"Originally when Ben got taken on, Kate came in and put the feelers out to see if we had any vacancies. Every year some of our products win awards, then we need to put the award stickers on to the products and that takes a lot of time. We had a few lads from Pluss and Ben was by far the best. He helps make kits up, puts stickers on and helps with picking orders.
"We are always around but we can show Ben what to do and he will quite happily get on. We have a laugh and he is part of the team. We don’t leave him on his own but we can get on with other stuff and he knows that we are there.
"It took Ben a little longer to learn the job initially but he’s really intelligent. Then one day it just clicked and he has really got it. He has an amazing memory too. It’s all in there.
"He comes in with a smile on his face and leaves with a smile on his face. He always comes in early, makes us a coffee and he gets on well with the team."