Simon Quarless, a 60-year old man with a learning disability, has found his dream job and is enjoying paid employment for the first time as part of the new Inclusive Employment Service in Essex.
Launched by Essex Cares Limited (ECL) in April 2020, the service assists adults with learning disabilities and autism into paid work as well as supporting over 500 Essex-based employers to become Disability Confident.
Simon, who has a mild learning disability, put his anxieties aside and was encouraged by ECL to follow his passion of working with horses. He has attended ECL’s Ashleigh Day Centre in Basildon every week for the past 34 years, where he has been supported with vocational training and volunteering opportunities.
In September 2020, the ECL Inclusive Employment team found the ideal job for Simon and he has since been enjoying paid part-time work at Pascal’s Paddocks livery yard in Brentwood.
Finding people with learning disabilities the perfect job match
Nine months on, Simon is loving his work. He said: “Fridays are a good day for me, I have a reason to get up and I enjoy helping out in the yard. I rake the menage where the horses practice, plus I wash and polish all the saddles, reins and tack that the horses have to wear for competitions.”
The Inclusive Employment Service, launched in partnership with Essex County Council, involves a support team working closely with candidates wanting to work by helping to find and maintain paid employment. Support includes career guidance, skills development, interview support as well as ongoing coaching and mentoring.
Lauren Keeble, Inclusive Employment Consultant at ECL, says she can see a positive difference in Simon since he started working: “To begin with Simon was very anxious about any change to his usual routine but, within three weeks of work, his confidence had grown dramatically.
"At ECL we work extremely hard to establish a clear vocational profile so we can find people with learning disabilities the perfect job match that will suit their interests and abilities. It is heart-warming to hear how Simon is so proud of his work and how he loves the feeling of independence that paid employment provides.”
Photo caption: Simon Quarless (centre) at Pascal’s Paddocks with Natalie Williams, ECL Inclusive Employment Manager for South and West (left) and Lauren Keeble, ECL Inclusive Employment Consultant (right). (Credit: Pagepix, Copyright: Essex Cares Limited)