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Published Tuesday, 17th March 2015

A Crewe man, who had been unemployed for 20 years, is finally working again thanks to the support he received from McDonald’s and Remploy, which provides specialist employment services for people with disabilities and health conditions.

Brian Watkins, 48, who has bipolar disorder, found it impossible to get a job, despite applying relentlessly for vacancies. However, he has just started working at McDonald’s restaurant in Sandbach, accepting deliveries from suppliers and cleaning the site to ensure customers enjoy their visit.

“I used to be an engineer but, because of the contraction of that industry, I lost my job and then found it impossible to get another,” said Brian. “Then I became a full time carer for a member of my family, which meant I had to put my career on hold.”

Brian spent his time studying, but still found employers were reluctant to give him an opportunity.

“That all changed when Remploy offered me specialist support,” he said. “They understood the challenges I faced and helped me assemble a set of job-seeking tools, such as a CV to attract the attention of employers, and I learnt skills that I could use in job interviews. Just as importantly they gave me my confidence back and encouraged me to apply for this job.”

Brian is now employed by Lemaca, the company operating McDonald’s restaurants throughout Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. With around 800 employees, it offers a wide range of roles, from customer care colleagues to multi-skilled crew members. With a policy of internal promotion, Brian now has the opportunity to progress within the business.

“For each vacancy we advertise, we can expect up to 200 responses,” said people manager Carole Scott. “That’s why our partnership with Remploy works so well – they screen all candidates to ensure the skills they have match the roles we have, and then help us with the recruitment process. They also know our business very well, which means we are able to rely on their judgement. Candidates shortlisted by Remploy are guaranteed an interview, as Brian was, and this often leads to a successful outcome – for the candidate and for us.”

“Brian is a shining example of how an individual’s ability is far more important than any disability,” said Lisa Hamlett, who is the business manager at the Sandbach restaurant. “He’s getting satisfaction from the job he’s doing, and our customers often compliment him on the difference he is making.”

McDonald’s franchisee Eddie Leligdowicz said, “This year, we expect to create 40 jobs across Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. These are good jobs, with prospects. For instance, 90 per cent of McDonald’s managers started as crew members, and I myself started working in restaurants 13 years ago. Brian has already made an impression in his new role, and we wish him every success with his career.”

ENDS

Picture caption: Brian Watkins and Lisa Hamlett, business manager at McDonald’s Sandbach

For further information and interview requests, please contact Remploy press office: 0300 456 8121


Notes to Editors:
  • In the last four years Remploy Employment Services has found more than 50,000 jobs in mainstream employment for people with a range of physical, sensory and mental disabilities and other disadvantages.
  • Remploy is driven by the fundamental belief that every disabled person can, with appropriate support and specialist advice, secure sustainable employment
  • Employment Services has an increasing focus on providing specialist disability employment services to people with mental health conditions or learning disabilities
  • It continues to invest in developing innovative approaches and services for employers which are cost effective and business efficient including consultancy and vocational rehabilitation services
  • Remploy ES partners with more than 2,500 of the country’s biggest employers including BT, ASDA, Royal Mail, Sainsbury’s, the NHS and Marks & Spencer
  • It operates a national network of more than 60 town and city centre recruitment branches and offices providing specialist recruitment and development services to job seekers.