Abilities in Facilities, Sewell Facilities Management in partnership with Mencap
In a bold social enterprise, Sewell Facilities Management joined forces with the Humber branch of national charity Mencap to create paid employment and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities – Abilities in Facilities.
Since the partnership began in 2017, about 30 people nominated by the charity have directly benefited – with four gaining paid cleaning jobs in offices and schools across Hull, while others have undertaken work experience opportunities or learning interview techniques to help them progress into work elsewhere.
The people involved in the project have autism, mild and moderate learning disability and mild learning differences. Sewell’s staff underwent specific training to help them progress and feel supported in their roles as they looked to secure opportunities in the world of work. Mencap gathered information on the progress of each young person involved in the scheme, building up charts detailing their self-assessment – how they felt before and after their training.
The company’s personnel have also taken part in a local feasibility study and supported Mencap in dispelling myths about working with people with a learning disability and raising awareness at events for young people and employers.
Best practice learning points:
- The learning is a two-way street; Sewell Facilities Management staff who worked on the project with Mencap now have a far better understanding of people who have a learning disability and their needs.
- Opening up opportunities to a largely untapped future workforce while enhancing the training and experience of personnel through the additional training and experiences they have completed.
- The methods adopted can help the wider FM sector to better identify an individual’s needs and better tailor communication and support accordingly.
- By dispelling employers, managers and colleagues’ negative attitudes or low expectations of those with learning disabilities, it paves the way for a more inclusive environment in which people of all abilities and backgrounds can work as a team.
- An increased understanding of unfair treatment, discrimination and bullying and harassment in the workplace.