For many adults with a learning disability or autism, finding sustainable employment and the sense of purpose, identity and pride that comes with it can feel like an unattainable goal. Less than 10 percent are working and being paid for it*.
At The Cross pub in Kenilworth however, Zach is bucking this trend. Having embarked on a career in the kitchen of a Michelin star chef with some help from Grapevine, he’s found an encouraging boss and new circle of friends to boot.
Head Chef Adam says employing Zach has been “an entirely positive experience”, connecting him to a rewarding role in a close knit team – plus the rich social side of the hospitality industry.
The skills he’s acquiring at work include the independence and confidence to move out of the family home to his own flat closer to the pub. Fresh out of college and into work, Zach has grasped the opportunity with both hands and is running with it.
We need more Adams to help close the disability employment gap and give others the chance to aim high with their aspirations.
Grapevine’s Connect2Work project, commissioned by Coventry City Council, is building a movement of forward-thinking employers who can offer employment, mentoring or work experience opportunities to people of all abilities. If this sounds like something you could help with, please get in touch with Kitty Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Source Mencap, 2016. Just 5.8 per cent of people with a learning disability known to their local authority in England and Wales are currently in employment.