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Happy ending following supported employment help for Frome man

Mark at work

Mark at work

A Frome man with learning disabilities says he feels healthier and happier after securing permanent and rewarding work through a ‘supported employment’ programme. 

Mark Loader of Frome has found many benefits to being in a job, including being financially stable and making new friends. The supported employment team at Dimensions, a national not-for-for-profit support provider for people with learning disabilities and autism, helped Mark through every step of the process and he now works as a the handyman’s assistant at McDonalds in Frome.

Mark said, “I am really happy and healthy. I am proud of getting a permanent job which I enjoy.”  He had previously worked in a shop for 20 years, but was made redundant when the company went into administration. Mark is an active person who loves to help in his community, so between jobs he volunteered in charity shops.

Alexandra Seddon, supported employment co-ordinator for Dimensions in Somerset, said that it was important to be able to give people with learning disabilities and autism the same opportunities as everyone else; enabling people to achieve goals, become more independent, meet new people and build their confidence.

Alexandra explained, “Through getting to know Mark, we realised he was lacking in confidence.  We worked with Mark to help him focus on what he could offer to an employer, including how valued he was at in his last job and how loyal he is.”

Mark was very open to most employment opportunities, but had been frustrated with the lack of support he had received whilst out of work about how best to go about applying for jobs and securing work. As a result, Mark was repeatedly sending out his CV to every company in his area, applying for positions and opportunities that did not match his skills.

Anne Skinner, Mark’s employment advisor, worked with Mark for a few months before approaching McDonalds. She arranged a meeting with the manager for Mark to find out more about the position.

“When we supported Mark to meet the manager and handyman, there was an instant rapport. It was so very important to prepare Mark fully for applying for the job and then being interviewed. But our role goes further than that – it’s imperative to ensure it is the right job for Mark – where he can grow and develop,” said Anne.

“Supported employment is also a way of also tackling prejudices and ensuring that community members recognise that people with learning disabilities and autism work hard and contribute in society.”

Dimensions’ Employment Support Team provides expert advice and job coaching for people with learning disabilities and autism to gain employment, using various tools including job coaching and job matching. The team works directly with employers and supports both them and the employee throughout the process.

The organisation is very keen to help people with learning disabilities gain paid employment, challenging the theme that people with learning disabilities are often given unpaid, voluntary positions and therefore are less likely to be financially independent.

Mark talks about his journey in a video at:

Any businesses interested in employing somebody supported by Dimensions, please contact Alexandra Seddon on email