Andrew’s Journey to Employment on Ignite 2 Project

Andrew joined Ignite 2 Project in October 2018. Ignite2 is a Supported Employment project offering participants the opportunity to engage in their local community, improve their employability and secure paid or voluntary work with ongoing in-work support. We assist adults with learning disability and autism to find the right job and keep it using the model of Supported Employment

Through Vocational profiling identified following training aspirations:

1.     To develop experience in a retail environment through a voluntary placement

2.    To attend Orchardville courses in Retail Academy and Employability Skills

3.    To acquire part-time paid employment in a retail setting

Andrew began a voluntary placement in Homegrown February 2019, initially a couple of hours one morning a week.

Over the next few weeks, he gradually began coming in 3 mornings a week. His role was working in veg prep, weighing, bagging, and labelling soup mix, carrots etc and then placing on shop floor. Andrew’s Employment Officer continued to visit Andrew for Monthly Reviews in Homegrown.

Andrew continued to progress and learned about the importance of stock rotation and developed product knowledge so that when customers asked for certain items, he was able to direct them to their chosen produce.

While continuing his placement in Homegrown Andrew attended The Retail Academy in 2019/20 with Orchardville. This Academy provided learners with a basic understanding of retail business and employee standards. It ensured learners had an awareness of the importance of health, safety, and security within the retail business. It also encouraged effective employability skills such a teamwork, problem solving and customer service. It included visits to Asda Bangor as part of the Academy, seeing in ‘real life’ what participants were learning in the classroom, for example display, move, and monitor stock, and till register skills. Andrew obtained his Level 1 OCN

From March 2020 Covid-19 restrictions were in place, and although Andrew was shielding at home for several months he continued to strive to continually develop his skills and make use of his free time by attending Orchardville Zoom courses such as Interview Skills. As part of this course Andrew prepared for a mock interview over Zoom who he attended with his Employment Officer.

Andrew also attended Communication and Presentation in the Workplace and obtained another OCN accredited Level 1. Andrew then returned to his placement and enjoyed being back. Homegrown took a video which gives a snapshot of Andrew’s placement. In December 2020, while on a Monthly Review Visit, Homegrown took a video of Andrew and his Employment Officer to show others what support Orchardville can provide.

Click Here to Watch the Video 

In addition to his placement Andrew attended a 2-week sample placement scheme with Asda Bangor in May 2021. This experience complimented and added to his ongoing experience at Homegrown and helped him develop his skills with customer service and till register duties.

Many thanks to all the Asda Bangor Team who helped facilitate this 2 week placement for Andrew, and the scheme continues to offer our other participants opportunities.

All of Andrew’s hard work and dedication to further develop his skills and experience totally impressed Homegrown.

For more information on Project Ignite2 please click here

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At work in the Orchard Café, Belfast

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