Gateshead’s Access to Employment Service – Primark

Gateshead’s Access to Employment Service – Primark


Hi, my name’s Lee Clark and I work for Primark. GATES is Gateshead Council’s Access to Employment Service working with people with disabilities to gain paid and sustained employment in the
community. Primark came about mainly through Lee. Lee wanted to work in retail, he’d had a bad experience prior to that, He wanted to work in retail, Primark
advertised a job we applied with Lee online and spoke to
Wendy and she agreed to interview him and then it went from there and the
relationship’s really developed. I was first approached about Lee last
February, I was contacted by GATES and they said they had two applicants
that wanted to apply for a position. So the applicants applied online and I was
contacted about Lee and he hadn’t quite scored highly enough. So GATES asked me as a reasonable adjustment would I still interview him which I said yes, that we would make the reasonable adjustment. And Lee had a fabulous interview, his
customer service examples were just fabulous. He said things like ‘a smile goes a long way’ and he’d want everyone to feel welcome. So Lee… straightaway there was just something about Lee in that interview that really stood out and I thought he’s going to be a fabulous colleague for Primark. I fold jeans, tidy the tables up, just
get it all nice, and put it in size order, and then put the tops and
pants in size order. I like working with the people I’m working with, and it’s…. good, it gets me enthusiastic. I work weekends which are really busy, I work quarter past four, when I come in there’s lots of people
around, there’s plenty things that do, keeps his on me toes and that. He’s fabulous, he actually works on the denim section which is a really busy section he doesn’t need me anymore, he doesn’t need Julie he just comes in, he knows what to do and he was nominated for employee of the quarter by his work
colleagues and this is because of the customer service that he’s given and just his work ethic and he actually won, so he was really over the
moon with that. GATES offers support from the start, so if a person comes to us, for the individual, we get to know them vocationally so we find out what they
want to do with work. Once that’s actually established then we start looking at employment, we might put them in a placement to see how the go with their skills, and then when they’re in employment we support them through
application, interview, work trials, we help with training, we help the
organization because we help them to do reasonable adjustment should it be
needed for an individual, so if there’s a certain aspect of the job they’re unable
to do or they need extra training in it, we’re there – and we’re there for the
life of the employment. They let me get on with things, they have
belief in me, they give me confidence. My last job, it didn’t give me confidence or nothing, they just kept me in a room downstairs and give me some jobs and tasks. But in here its a lot better, they let me
get on with it and have more belief in myself. This is just been a massive learning curve for me, the job satisfaction from the work that I’ve done with GATES is just fabulous. It’s been a really great journey. I think looking at how Lee’s progressed how he’s come on with his confidence, his customer service and just the support from GATES… this
definitely will be the beginning. It works. Look at people as an
individual that comes through, disability or not, they’re individuals. Accept them, work with us, work with the individual the person and see what they’re capable of doing, use their skills and talents. In a past life Lee worked in retail, but he
was kept in a storeroom so he wasn’t in the public domain. When I now come in and see Lee with customers, it’s just an absolute joy because he’s really, really
blossomed and that’s what we ask employers to do. Go that extra mile, have a look, open your doors and realise that somebody with a disability is very beneficial to have in the workforce because it impacts on customers and your staff. I love working here, enjoy it. All the people I work with are really nice and helpful, they are a joy to work with.

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