Jamie, 22, from Doncaster gets his dream job thanks to support from Aspire to Be
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Jamie Bates Blanford, aged 22, has a learning disability and had been struggling to get employment for many years.
This was starting to affect his confidence and self esteem so he turned to Aspire to Be, which is managed by Doncaster Deaf Trust, and helps adults with learning disabilities and other difficulties gain life skills and employment.
Aspire to Be works with referring agencies such as local authorities, housing associations and job centres to provide people with a holistic programme incorporating education, employment and employability sessions alongside health and wellbeing support.
Since then, Jamie has gone from strength-to-strength firstly getting valuable work experience at a British Heart Foundation charity shop and then paid employment with Smyths Toys Superstore in Doncaster.
Jamie said: “I was feeling very low as I had been unable to get work for some time and I didn’t know where to turn for help.
"But then I got introduced to Aspire to Be and started attending some employability sessions.
"They helped me become job ready and part of this was getting work experience in an environment I want to eventually get work in.
"I was interested in retail so Aspire to Be set up an opportunity for me to go to The British Heart Foundation to learn the skills I need to work in retail.
“I really enjoyed the induction session at British Heart Foundation and loved my time there.
"I liked the teamwork, replacing items that had sold from the shop floor, and chatting with my workmates.
“Since being at Aspire to Be and working in the charity shop I learnt so many new things and gained the skills I needed to get me to a point where I could start to apply for paid jobs.
"Previously this was very hard for me as I did not have the confidence to interact with others.
"The team at Aspire listened to me and I learnt how to communicate with others, became more confident and gave me the support needed for me to achieve my goal of having the skills and confidence to apply for jobs and preparing me for interviews.
“I was recently given an interview at Smyths Toys Superstore and to my surprise I was offered employment which I eagerly accepted.
"I am so happy and my family are really proud. Thank you to Aspire to Be for all their support, I cannot recommend them enough.”
Barbara Malone, work coach trainer at Aspire to Be said: “Jamie had attended my retail sessions and although he had done motivation and confidence building, he was still nervous at meeting new people in my group with little interaction and eye contact.
"However, this changed by incorporating discussions about his interests to get him to open up and there was no stopping him from then on. He was able to problem solve and showed great teamwork.
“He now displays a much more positive outlook and self-belief and his efforts have been rewarded with a new retail job. We are all so proud of how far he has come and wish him all the best in his new role.”
To learn more about Aspire to Be, visit www.deaf-trust.co.uk/employability/aspire-to-be/introduction