Toucan is a supported employment charity which supports people with a learning disability/difficulty ages 16+ into finding and maintaining employment and all that this can encompass. Toucan provides support through a range of different areas including CV writing, cover letters, Maths and English skills, computer basics, interview practice and information/advice on benefits etc.
How DCT helped:
Thanks to funding from DCT in 2013, Toucan was able to employ a support worker to develop Workstart Lewisham, a specialised provision to support people with learning disabilities to enter employment.
The project had strong outcomes, supporting 26 young people with learning difficulties from the local DCT, 18 of which have gained work experience, 13 have entered employment, with more interviews in the pipeline at the time of reporting.
Charmaine is a young woman who was referred to Toucan early on in the project from the DEA. She had never worked in a paid capacity and it had been a long time since she had undertaken a work experience placement. She suffers from epilepsy and this, combined with her learning difficulties, and the fact that it had been s substantial period since she had been doing any positive activities. This meant that she was lacking in self-confidence and self-esteem. As a result, Toucan provided a lot of 1-2-1 support initially, to work on improving her confidence whilst gaining a better sense of what she was like, what help she would need and what kind of work she might be interested in. The 1-2-1 work was also very valuable as it meant that slowly over time Charmaine opened up to case workers and began to trust them.
At the same time as 1-2-1 support, Toucan also began work on her CV and began to look for work experience placements, and she succeeded in getting a placement with Primark. This had many beneficial effects on Charmaine, her confidence had grown tremendously by the time she left.
Whilst she was on placement, Toucan continued to look for paid employment for her and, after a number of interviews, was successful in gaining a role as a Support Worker, supporting other people with learning disabilities. As a result, Charmaine’s confidence has continued to grow, she is financially much better-off and is taking part in more activities outside of work, reducing her risk of becoming isolated and raising her self-esteem even further.