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Social firm celebrating success stories after finding jobs for disabled people

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 13, 2012

FULL-TIME JOB: Andrew Skeggs, 20, is a general operative at The Logo Factory in Paignton. He was supported into work by Pluss

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A SOCIAL firm is celebrating its success at getting disabled people into work.

One such success story is finding full-time work for Andrew Skeggs.

Andrew, 20, was supported into work by Pluss after taking part in Pluss' Traineeship.

As a result of this and other services offered, he now has a full-time permanent contract as a general operative at The Logo Factory in Paignton.

Andrew, who has has Asperger's Syndrome, had never been in paid work before he started.

He said: "I've never had a job, I did go to college but I dropped out after my first day. I wasn't comfortable there. I'm not a social person; I like to keep myself to myself.

"I had no idea what I wanted to do as a job; I was just looking for anything. Having Asperger's probably affected my communication with employers.

"I came to Pluss while I was looking for jobs and did Job Clubs, learned employability skills and entered their Traineeship scheme. Then I got the job at The Logo Factory.

"My job is to get the boots in, count and order them, prepare their paperwork, and log them. I input the appropriate artwork into the PC and then send it to be embroidered. I work on the coordination of shirts too."

His employers are Martin and Rita Meek who own The Logo Factory.

Rita said: "We had a role already available for our Paignton branch and they showed us some CVs of suitable applicants.

"Going through Pluss didn't cost us anything but we are certain we've found the ideal employee through this method.

"We were willing to be a little flexible with the role as we were sure we wanted to give a helping hand to someone who had had difficulties in the past."

Martin, who is Andrew's manager, said: "Andrew is a dedicated employee; he's got good time keeping and a generally great work ethic. He has an impressive attitude and he is appreciative of work, in the time he's been here he's picked up what is expected of him really well.

"Day to day he is responsible for the creation of artwork, producing up to 250 pieces a day and he very rarely makes mistakes. We're about to move to a larger premises and Andrew will be a key holder there, coming in early to prepare artwork before the machinists arrive.

"He has also designed the floor plans for our new premises, he looked at the flow of work and machine orders, it's very impressive.

"Andrew gets on very well with the rest of the team; although we're small here he has to mingle with our main contractor who is based next door.

"He's expected to get on and deliver orders and work with their team of more than 40 employees, which he does well.

"Since he's been here we've noticed him opening up a lot. We don't hold his hand; he's always looking onto the next job.

"Andrew adds value to our business, it was a role we needed to fill and he's done a good job.

"Having Pluss' support was good and knowing we could call on his employment consultant, who also visited regularly, was great."

Andrew said there were many positives to working. "Having a job is good; it means I have something to do," he said.

"Pluss made sure it was somewhere I'd like; it's a small and quiet environment. I like working hard and satisfying customers.

"The team are friendly and hardworking and we sometimes have a laugh. They're all happy to help me if I need it. I know I'm getting more responsibility soon and I'm a bit nervous about it but ready for it.

"Now I've got a job and I'm earning some money it means my parents are happy and proud of me. I'm an enthusiastic computer builder and now I might be able to get a storage unit for my network.

"Since starting here I'm more confident walking down town by myself. If I met someone like me who was thinking about starting work I'd definitely recommend Pluss."

South West firm Pluss was recently named by the Department for Work and Pensions as the top performing organisation in Britain for the Work Choice programme.

The Work Choice Programme is the DWP's specialist programme to help disabled people into work and this is the first set of results announced since the start of the programme in 2010.

Pluss is the largest social firm in the UK and the only social firm to deliver Work Choice as a prime contractor. Pluss delivers the contract for Devon and Cornwall, and the results announced show more people in this area who start the programme find work than anywhere else in the country.

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  • T0tnesian  |  September 13 2012, 8:47AM

    Good for you, Andrew! I'll be smiling about this all day. It's a brilliant antidote to the increasingly vicious stereotyping of people with disabilities as lazy scroungers.

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