Oakland International Named Employer of the Month by Mencap Worcestershire

The leading voice of learning disability, Mencap Worcestershire has named multi temperature supply chain solutions provider Oakland International as their Employer of the Month.

Mencap supports people with learning disabilities and as part of their Lifestyle and Work’s Employment Service in Worcestershire they run the Supported Internship 1-year programme, working with young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 who have mild learning disabilities and/or Autism, teaching maths, English and employability skills, as well as providing free job coaching in the work place for students who then complete 300-hours of work experience over a year, with the end goal to support students to gain paid employment.

Mencap Education and Employment Caseworker, Tara Tinton, said: “Adam Smith came to us in August 2020 lacking confidence and desperate to find work. His dream job was to work in a Warehouse but due to COVID it had been difficult to gain work experience. We Supported Adam with his Maths, English and Employability Skills, but mainly with his communication and confidence and today he is a very different person, communicating confidently, he believes in himself and his abilities which is amazing.”

Adam attended a Microsoft Teams interview with Oakland and was then offered a part time position, completing a mix of on-the-job training and elements of e-learning with Oakland’s recruitment programme encompassing support for people coming back into the workplace, and those who may otherwise find it more challenging to secure employment.

Oakland International HR Manager, Kate Hewitt, commented: “Adam is now working completely independently, working part time in our recipe box packing team. He is a much-valued team member, keen and willing to learn and we plan to increase his hours to full time with the view that he will remain with the company for the long term.

“Adam has a great and positive outlook and is keen to work. It has been an absolute pleasure supporting him into work and seeing his confidence grow and increase all round. If we had 100 Adams we would be delighted!”

Oakland International operates 24-hours/7 days a week and is a D2C/B2C/B2B specialist in contract packing, storage, picking, food distribution and a brand development support provider for ambient, chilled and frozen food to the retail, convenience, discount, wholesale and food service markets in the UK, Ireland and via their partner in Spain.

Adam commenting on his new job said: “It gives me more pride in myself, if I didn’t have a job, I would be bored and unsatisfied. Mencap supported me in this role and I plan to stay at Oakland and hopefully, one day, learn to drive the fork life trucks.”

Adam’s mum Jackie commented that she has seen his confidence develop and that he loves his new job and that he was so excited to receive his first pay slip.

Mencap Education & Employment Caseworker Tara Tinton said: “Adam loves his job at Oakland International and takes pride in what he does. He wants people to know he has a learning disability so that he is supported in the way he needs but also wants equality and to be part of the team.

“Oakland have worked with me to make the necessary adjustments to ensure he is happy and doing his job to the best of his abilities. I will be delivering free Learning Disability Awareness training soon to staff at Oakland to help spread some understanding of how communication is key to supporting anyone who has a learning disability in the workplace and going forward that our students help to develop Oakland’s diverse workforce and provide future Mencap students with the same opportunities as Adam.

“We have built an excellent partnership with Oakland International and I am looking forward to working with them again.”