The Circle – Supporting people into work

Challenge Sponsor

The Circle is a Social Enterprise and a community hub providing affordable work, training, event space for charities, community groups, individuals, social enterprises and socially-aware businesses to thrive and improve lives.

The Challenge

Michael is 24 and he is autistic and has been on various employment training courses and work placements.  He was looking for a job in admin, but never offered a job after completing a placement, he’d never been employed.

How do you think this would make Michael feel?

Michael was on a 13-week placement from the Wise Group when we met him and learnt where his strengths lay. The Circle needed a Maintenance Assistant to come on as a volunteer. In this role Michael would be setting up rooms for events, checking the toilets, taking meter readings and any general tasks as required. After further conversations, we arranged for Michael to spend 13 weeks with us volunteering as a Maintenance Assistant.  Michael was understandably a tad reluctant so we had him visit to get a feel for the scope of the place and meet the team.

Michael started his placement quite happily and within weeks had his feet firmly under the table. Paul, The Circle Manager, saw the potential in Michael that many others had also seen and wanted to take Michael on as an employee. He applied for funding through the Community Jobs Scotland scheme, which is delivered by the SVCO working in partnership with the Scottish Government and Scotland’s third sector.

It was touch and go for a while but the application was successful and Michael is now a full-time member of staff. The change in him is quite something. The way he walks, the way he talks and how he carries himself has changed dramatically.

Michael has some great people skills and we looked to his strengths.

How can we support people like Michael and others with additional needs into full-time work? What barriers exist to the individuals?  What barrier exist to employers? How much of this is reality? How can we support employers to have really inclusive work places?