Andy wins hearts and minds in the construction industry

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Photo of Andy

Andy, 50, from Higher Compton in Plymouth, is a Handyman at Jem Scaffolding in Plymouth. He is hard working, friendly and reliable.

Andy has a learning disability and is a shining example of the kind of employee every business would want.

Andy’s employer, Richard Barnes, Operations Director at Jem Scaffolding explains “Andy just goes off and does his job so we don’t need to worry about it. He knows his routine and he makes our life much easier by just getting on with things. He is always a happy chap and you can’t fault his enthusiasm - though he does tell me off if I’ve forgotten to get the milk!”

“He has definitely grown in confidence since he has been here. He has broken down prejudices too. He is part of the team and is spoken to as an equal. It is a big thing in the construction industry to change thought processes. “

Andy is equally delighted to be in work. “It’s a really good feeling” he says, “I like coming here and seeing the people. They make me feel like I am part of the team. It’s also good to be paid. It means I am more independent so I can go out for a beer to watch football on the big screen on a Saturday.

“I am good at everything. I am a good timekeeper and am well organised. I know I have a job to do and am always happy. I don’t moan. I always just get on with it. I don’t mind bad weather either. 

Andy was supported to find his job by Social Enterprise, Pluss, who help thousands of people with disabilities into work every year.  Andy’s learning disability means he struggles to read or write and needs help to learn new routines. Pluss supported Andy to do a six week work trial and give him ongoing 1:1 on the job coaching and support.

“It is an objective of Jem Scaffolding to give people opportunities across the board” concludes Richard, “Many of the people that work here have come from difficult backgrounds. As a business, if you have genuinely helped someone, you get a loyalty back that money cannot buy – just like Andy has shown. I like to think that one of the reasons we are such a successful company is that we do give people that opportunity. If you help people then they will help you.” 

Over 74% of the working age population are currently in work yet for someone with a learning disability it is only 7%. This isn’t because they can’t or don’t want to work, but because the impact of their disabilities, and society’s attitudes towards those disabilities mean they must frequently overcome complex challenges if they are to achieve a career.

Businesses looking for free disability recruitment support can find out more at