Katie's Story

Katie at Well

Katie is 23 years old and lives with her grandparents in Ashton.

She was referred for Greater Manchester Talent Match from People First in September 2016 and has been supported by her Talent Coach Gemma Richmond from Mencap.

Katie, who has a learning disability, has made a life choice to not verbally communicate.

Gemma said, “When I first met Katie back in September I was told that I shouldn’t expect Katie to verbally communicate and she will need some extra support to move closer to employment.”

Gemma started to meet with Katie on a weekly basis, getting to know her, her career goals and aspirations in life. During a session on computer skills, Katie created an ‘About Me’ presentation, where she showed great knowledge and skills at using a computer.

After having seen her clear skills with IT, Gemma found an opportunity for Katie to participate in Learning Disability Work Experience Week at Well Pharmacy. Due to Katie’s confidence with reading and writing, Gemma and her colleague Mel thought she would best suit working in the communications team whereby she would write newsletters and assist with blog writing.

Katie at WellKatie had never been out of Ashton before and was very anxious about going into the city centre. To help support Katie, Gemma and her colleagues at Mencap worked together as a team to collect and drop her off at home so that she was comfortable to attend.

Katie did brilliantly during her work experience at Well. She was paired with a buddy, Sarah, who was very attentive and helpful; clearly demonstrating her tasks and ensuring Katie was involved in helping with lots of different jobs for the team.

Sarah, Katie’s Buddy at Well said, “It was really rewarding for me to take part –I’m so glad I did it, and it was so nice to see Katie having such a good time –absolutely roaring with laughter at some points! I hope she has a good understanding of the workplace now, and had fun too!”

During her time at Well, Katie helped with the newsletter, created a Birdseye view plan for the new Well offices opening in Stoke, helped film an advert for the company and took photographs of the shop for their marketing of their new gadget.

Gemma explains, “Katie really blossomed this week, I equipped her with some cards to assist her with her communication and also a note pad which really supported her to communicate with the team. I really hope this will give Katie the boost of confidence she needs to take the steps forward into paid employment. She was so happy and later wrote to me saying she ‘loved meeting new people and the computers…”.

Writing about her experience, Katie noted, “Gemma helped me meet new people, helped me with working on computer and helped with filming. She helped at break and helped to make drinks”.

On being asked whether she enjoyed the placement, Katie wrote, “I enjoyed it all. Meeting Sarah, using computers and peeping at Sarah over the desk. [I’m a] bit upset now, because I’m going to miss them”.

Katie’s week ended fantastically when the team presented her with a card to congratulate her on her hard work and a ‘Well Star’ which is given to members of staff when they have gone above and beyond. Katie was thrilled with this and laughed and danced all the way home in the back of the car.

Katie now hopes to do more work experience. She is particularly interested in getting a placement in a school with a view to eventually working in one.

Read more stories from people involved in Greater Manchester Talent Match by clicking here.