Reuben's Story

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Reuben Winsor, 22, is a trainee software developer for North Devon IT company, Lineal Software Solutions Ltd.

Extremely quiet, hard working and dedicated, Reuben had never had permanent work before yet is now using his ‘pin-sharp focus’ to develop highly complex business software. Such are Reuben’s skills, that the IT company had previously struggled to find a graduate with the skills they needed despite approaching several universities across the UK.

Reuben, from Barnstaple, began working at Lineal in June 2016 as part of the Work Choice scheme delivered by Pluss – an award winning social enterprise which supports thousands of people with disabilities to find employment. Reuben completed a four month traineeship after which he was taken on as a permanent employee.

Work Choice is the Department for Work and Pensions specialist disability employment programme. Work Choice receives funding from the European Social Fund for customers referred to the programme prior to 25th April 2017.

Managing Director of Lineal, Mike Matthews, said “Reuben's diligence and attention to detail have been indispensable in helping us develop Lineal’s next generation of our business software. He has become a confident and valued member of our team in just a short space of time."

Highly intelligent, Reuben is on the autistic spectrum. As such, he works best within a well-defined and clearly structured work environment, and finds unclear or abstract tasks more challenging.

For Lineal, introducing Reuben as a new member of staff, the focus became to create a working environment that is supportive, develops his potential and allow him to thrive.

Reuben’s duties involve work as part of Lineal’s active monitoring process (L.A.M.P) – a security service by which Lineal’s IT support team monitor business customers’ servers remotely for the early warning signs of system stress or imminent failure.

“We quickly realised Reuben was a natural problem solver with good concentration and a keen eye for detail. He was in his element delving into complex puzzles behind the scenes” explains Mike.

Over time, Reuben became more closely involved with Lineal’s software development team – assisting in the development of SQLWorks, Lineal’s own business management software product used for business accounting, stock control and managing customer relations (CRM).

“My work is mostly internal quality checking” explains Reuben… "troubleshooting bugs and fixing problems in test versions of our software for our staff, before customers get the finished product down the line.”

Reuben’s main development work however has focused more on the future of Lineal’s SQLWorks software, including re-fashioning the longstanding system into JavaScript code for the world of tablets and smartphones – where software must be optimised for different screen sizes.

Pluss have also been a critical part of Reuben’s personal development: visiting regularly to monitor on his progress. Before joining Lineal, Pluss had also assisted Reuben in first finding relevant work experience with a North Devon manufacturer, who tasked him to build a live reporting dashboard to display factory productivity and safety check figures to the team on the shop floor. In addition to completing the project successfully, Reuben has returned since, as a Lineal employee, to complete further development work for the customer.

"Far from being a weakness, Reuben’s pin-sharp focus is a prized trait in software developers, who must methodically build hundreds or thousands of lines of code to get the right result” adds Mike. “We’ve been impressed with his enthusiasm and dedication – and we’re absolutely delighted Reuben will be remaining at Lineal as a full-time member of staff."

"I cannot praise Pluss’ support and foresight highly enough: in addition to the social value of helping people with disabilities find work and supporting their progress in-work, our business has gained a valued employee in a field where recruitment is competitive."

Reuben was also recently presented with the Pluss ‘Achiever of the Year Award 2016’ in recognition of his success since joining the North Devon software firm.