Lyndon secures employment at Torfaen Council
“Lyndon is like a ray of sunshine. Everybody enjoys interacting with him,” says Torfaen County Borough Council HR Manager Tina Hulme. “We enjoy working with him; he really is part of our team.”
In May 25-year-old Lyndon from Llangwm, near Usk, began a paid placement at Torfaen Council’s HR department. Just two months later, he had impressed his employers so much in the role that he was offered continued paid employment with the option of increasing his hours from the current 8 hours per week.
“I’m feeling happy and my work is valued,” says Lyndon, delighted to be offered the job. “I enjoy administration work and I would like to stay in this job.”
With support from employment advisor Zoe and job coach Molly from Engage to Change delivery partner ELITE Supported Employment, his main task so far has been to scan payroll information. This includes preparing the documents for scanning, ordering them by month, mounting receipts, and scanning into the correct payroll files and folders.
Although Lyndon received more intensive support at the beginning of his placement, Molly has been able to steadily withdraw her support as he has become more independent, both in completing his tasks and in his social interaction in the workplace.
“When Lyndon first started we weren’t sure how he was going to fit in because we can be quite noisy and there’s a lot going on,” says Tina. “It was explained that to get him integrated into the workplace, his social interaction would be the difficult part. But it just hasn’t caused him a problem. He’s been absolutely amazing. He had a little map with everyone’s name on, and he memorised everyone’s name.”
Whereas at first Lyndon would use Molly as his voice, relaying his thoughts to her to pass on to his colleagues, as he has grown in confidence Lyndon is now much more comfortable to chat. Initially Lyndon would only answer closed questions with yes or no answers, and would be reluctant to express a preference for anything. Colleagues adapted their communication to ask more open questions, and in this supportive environment it hasn’t taken long for Lyndon to gain the confidence to open up and join in more conversations. “He’s part of the team. He comes in, talks about what he did on the weekend. He’s changed so much,” says Tina.
Molly still pops in to see how Lyndon is doing, ensuring the support is still available should he need it. But Lyndon has proven himself to be very capable in his role, working methodically and systematically to complete his tasks as well as performing an extra role as a de-facto photocopier technician! According to Tina, he is very good at unblocking the machine when it becomes stuck – “He methodically goes through a routine and gets it working again where I can’t!”
Lyndon has also become independent in travelling to and from work. Following initial travel training with Molly, he now takes the bus independently and knows his schedule.
Lyndon’s colleague Rhian has been a particular support in the workplace. “Rhian has helped me quite a bit,” Lyndon says of his mentor, who has been key to helping him progress. Rhian and Tina have worked with colleagues in the HR department to create a supportive workplace environment where Lyndon has been able to thrive.
As a large employer in Torfaen, Tina believes that the council have an obligation to the people of Torfaen to employ a diverse range of people. The Engage to Change project has made them think differently about how individuals’ skills can be utilised more effectively in the workforce. The role that Lyndon is performing was always there but had been folded into other roles. In thinking about Lyndon’s abilities and how they matched up to what needed to be done, they carved out a job that worked to the benefit of both employer and employee. This only required thinking of “ways that we can do things differently,” according to Tina. “The project made us think differently about how we deliver our work.”
Though Lyndon has volunteered at a charity shop and a community centre prior to joining Engage to Change, this is the first time he has been in paid work. It means a lot to him to know that his work is valued and to be a part of the team at Torfaen Council’s HR Department. Congratulations Lyndon on securing paid employment!