James’ story

James has always wanted to work in a shop. And while volunteering in a charity shop was useful experience, it wasn’t the same as being paid a wage for doing a hard day’s work.

But his CV, job application forms and interviews always let him down; he just wasn’t able to get his abilities and skills over to a prospective employer. An assessment with a major supermarket went badly and, understandably, dented James’s confidence.

He’s now finished a two week work trial with Ikea and has his fingers crossed for a permanent job there.

Grapevine’s citywide project supporting young people with learning disabilities into employment has got James to this stage.

Alex, who’s been working with James to improve his job prospects, was able to talk to Ikea and arrange a pre-interview ‘orientation’ session. And she talked to James so he felt prepared for what would be involved at interview stage too.

She also talked to staff at Ikea about what to expect when they met James (and nine other candidates) and was able to share background information with Ikea so they knew what kind of support would be needed during a fortnight’s work trial.

“I have lots of opportunities to get to know candidates so I understand the kind of role that would suit them best. It’s important we put people into a job where they add value and it’s something they enjoy,” says Alex.

“Working with Alex has been really helpful and has given me much more confidence in talking with people,” says James.

“I liked Ikea.  I enjoyed talking to the customers, getting on with colleagues and having nice food! It was helpful having Alex there to get me started and she also kept in touch to make sure everything was going ok.”

“The feedback about James from Ikea was amazing,” says Alex.

“They said he had been a real asset to the team and are looking forward to welcoming him back as soon as a customer service vacancy arises.”