Learning Difficulties and Disabilities

Helping Joe


jane CrossJane Cross, a Careers Wales Adviser working with clients with LDD (learning difficulties and difficulties), describes how she helped Joe make a successful transition into work.

Joe suffers from mild cerebral palsy, and moderate learning difficulties. Having interviewed him on two or three occasions, I picked up on his positive attitude to life; he gets on with life really well, consistently out performing any pre-conceived expectations of someone with his disabilities who wanted to access paid work. However, conversations with the school SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator), it was clear that Joe needed to be placed in a suitable supported environment that would make allowances for his physical disabilities and his social vulnerability.

Joe had several guidance interviews with me, some with Mum present, to support his decision-making and realism in relation to vocational areas being considered. This included looking at information on careerswales.com. We established that Joe was keen to try any outdoor work, particularly if this involved applying his practical skills. l also helped him to write his CV and discussed what to put on application forms. The other option Joe was considering was FE College, but Joe did not want that, he desperately wanted to go to work.

A number of opportunities for work based training and work placements were discussed with Joe and his Mum but the one that he was most interested in was a placement in groundwork/gardening with Monmouthshire Council’s Parks dept. I went with Joe and his Mum up to the Council offices in Abergavenny, where they agreed that, if he successfully completed some preparatory training, Joe would be considered for a placement. I approached Torfaen Training with a view to Joe doing some ‘engagement training’ to prepare him for the world of work. Joe attended an induction with Torfaen Training and is currently doing a health and safety course in Newport with the Fire Brigade, as part of the Phoenix Project (which he is loving). The Phoenix Project is an “up skilling” project which provides Joe with a week of training in outdoor landscaping/grounds work roles (designed for those experiencing difficulties accessing these jobs).

The good news is that following completion of this training, Joe will be attending a further interview with Monmouthshire Council and if he is successful he should start working on a placement in their parks and gardens section, supported by Torfaen training.

Back to Learning Difficulties & Disabilities