Roisin was supported by Mencap via the Work Connect programme between January 2014 and January 2015. Prior to this Roisin had no previous experience of paid employment. Roisin has Seasonal Affective Disorder and in the past she has found this to pose a barrier to gaining paid employment and other opportunities. Roisin successfully obtained paid employment with ASDA café in May 2014. However as she was employed on an ‘as and when required’ contract Roisin was keen to obtain employment that was more secure. Roisin commenced employment as a Personal Shopper with Tesco Enniskillen in September 2014. She is now employed on a permanent contract with guaranteed hours. Roisin’s job involves processing online shopping orders that are received from Tesco.com. Tesco Enniskillen opened in December 2007 and they currently employ 231 employees.
When speaking about the expectations she had for her job Roisin stated, “As I had never worked before I was unsure about my abilities and I had a fear that I might not be able to do the jobs I needed to do in paid employment. When I left Asda I was also worried as I had already put so much into my job and learned a lot.” Thinking about the reality of her job at Tesco, Roisin stated, “This job has given me even more than I expected it to. It has given me routine in my life and has allowed me to be organised between my paid work and my personal life”. When asked what it means to have a paid job Roisin stated, “I felt like I was missing out in some part of adulthood. I also wanted to be able to have an answer when people asked me ‘What do you do?’ My favourite part of my job is when the team come together to have a break and chat to each other. Everyone at Tesco is so friendly and they always offer me help when I need it. I have started sharing lifts to work with a girl who I work with. I enjoy my new job because I know when I am working each week and I know exactly what job I need to get on with. I also like how my new job has changed my thoughts about the seasons. It gives every season a meaning because of the changes that happen to the shop displays. There is a good buzz about the different seasons. I am very happy in my job and I would like to see more employers taking on people with a learning disability.” When asked about the support she has received via the Work Connect programme, Roisin stated, “I would have reached the stage I am at now without the help I received from Mencap. I feel totally settled into my team at work and feel like everyone now knows me very well.”
Roisin is supported at work by a large staff team including her manager Ann-Marie Rice. Ann-Marie stated, “Our expectation of every employee is the same regardless of learning disability or any other background. We want staff that are willing to learn, that feel welcomed, are good team players and know that support is always available. We feel that having a learning disability should not pose a barrier to working for Tesco. We have a very inclusive and diverse work force with a large number of employees whom have a range of different disabilities. What is important is getting to know each individual and learning to put the right adjustments in place to help them to carry out their job. We can offer regular support to our employees through our ‘Supporting Your Attendance’ procedures and through our online staff networks which enable employees to share information and interact with colleagues of a similar background. Roisin has settled very well into her working role. She is a good team player, with a friendly personality, and she is very enthusiastic about her job.”