Partnership opens the door to work for Josh | Remploy

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Published Friday, 12th December 2014

An innovative partnership that provides work placements for young people with learning disabilities has opened the door to permanent employment for a Leicester youngster who has Down’s syndrome.

Josh Stokes, 21, from Countesthorpe, believes the experience he gained from taking part in the employability programme, ‘Leicester Works’, was crucial in helping him secure a job as a studio assistant with Dale Studios, a local graphic design company.

Josh is one of 17 young people with a range of moderate to severe learning disabilities who last year benefited from taking part in Leicester Works, a partnership between Remploy – the leading provider of specialist employment services for disabled people - Leicester College, Leicester City Council and two local NHS Trusts, University Hospitals of Leicester and Leicester Partnership.

“Leicester Works gave me confidence and valuable experience,” said Josh, who has quickly become a popular member of the team at Dale Studios.

The scheme combines work placements in and around Leicester with further education to develop a candidate’s employability and social skills and increase their independence.

“Josh had already completed a catering course before he was accepted on to Leicester Works,” said Robin Charnock, an employment advisor with Remploy in Leicester. “But because he wasn’t sure if he wanted to work full-time in a kitchen, we arranged work placements for him as a maintenance assistant at Leicester City Council and at a local gardening centre.”

Not long after completing the programme, Josh was one of five Remploy candidates interviewed by Dale Studios. “We were very impressed by the quality of all the candidates,” said Adrian Wagemakers, operations director at the firm. “But Josh stood out – there was no doubt that he was the right person for the job.” 

Josh’s openness and quirky sense of humour has endeared him to his colleagues. “But he isn’t given special treatment because of his disability,” insisted Adrian. “Josh has an important part to play and he does it very well.”

Remploy’s branch in Leicester city centre provides a range of services for disabled and disadvantaged jobseekers, including help developing a CV, confidence building and interview techniques. It also works with employers, helping them to understand the benefits of employing disabled people. 

“Enlightened employers like Dale Studios are helping to transform lives,” added Remploy’s Robin Charnock. “They looked beyond Josh’s disability and saw his potential. They are a great example for other businesses to follow.” 

“Remploy’s support was very important in helping us find the find the right candidate for the job,” said Adrian. “And since Josh has been with us they have stayed in touch and provided specialist advice when it has been needed.” 

"I love my job and I’ve made lots of friends since I’ve been here,” added Josh. “I’m grateful to Remploy for the help they gave me.”

Anyone wishing to find out more about Remploy’s services including Leicester Works should call: 0300 456 8045.


Picture caption: 1) Josh Stokes; 2) Josh Stokes and Adrian Wagemakers

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

Notes to editors:
  • In the last two years Remploy Employment Services has found more than 35,000 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.