Diane works in the Warehouse at the British Heart Foundation online sales hub in Leeds, and does picking and despatch.
Pluss delivers Work Choice, 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.
“What I most like about my job is the variation. No two days are ever the same.
“I am not one that wants to be at home. I’d rather be out working and putting something back into society. I have mild cerebral palsy but I am pretty independent. I have always found ways of getting around things. If I see a task I see if I can always get around it somehow.
“I had a four year gap out of work. My epilepsy came back after 24 years. It was a big worry for me that employers wouldn’t take me on, particularly when my family was young – I thought it would stop me finding work. I really wanted to get back into work as I felt I had something to give. Actually, I have only had one episode since.
“It’s great to be getting up in the morning and giving something back. All of my colleagues and Andy are smashing.
“The support that Pluss has given me is brilliant. They accepted me and understood where I was coming from. They were completely there for me. They were determined that I should have a chance.”
Andy Shaw, Online Sales Supervisor
“Diane likes to be busy doing things. She is mature, punctual and has a great work ethic. There is always a great atmosphere around her.
“Diane has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. She is incredibly keen to be productive so tends to work with lighter, smaller items and loves to be doing things.
“Diane’s confidence is growing. She’s really developed since she has been here. She has a good routine in place and comes up with ideas. She has also gained a lot of confidence in her personal life and is taking her family on holiday.”
The online sales hub deals with 750 shops nationwide and sells anything valuable, rare or unique. They have 54 paid staff and 13 volunteers. They have had five employees, five trainees and three volunteers from Pluss.
“We are slightly different to the shops as we have paid staff, and it is a faster-paced and commercially orientated environment.
“We have a varied range of tasks – listing, admin, customer service, research, photography, warehouse picking, IT, receiving and loading vehicles, booking in an the internal system – all modern relevant skills.
“We’ve had excellent support from Pluss. They know all about our business and what people would suit the job. The quality of people they have given us has been great and they are all really keen to work. We use the traineeship as a proper induction which gets each person ready for the job and they can step straight into it. Pluss stay in contact, visit and check that there is a smooth transition from the traineeship into becoming a paid employee.
“Doing it this way is a lot better than interview. We get to know each individuals work ethic, attitude and what they’re like as people. At interview an individual might say the right thing but there is nothing better than getting to know someone and seeing how they work. This is the first partnership of this kind that we have had and it’s worked really well. For me if the person is able and capable of doing the job, then that’s the most important thing.”