Learning Disability Week – James’s Story

Posted 17/06/2024

As part of Learning Disability Week, Unity Works is celebrating the successes of people across our programmes. Today, we share James's story.

James is a young man with a learning disability who is a trainee at Jacksons café, one of Unity Works’ social enterprise cafes. James joined Jacksons café to reinforce existing skills learnt in college and develop new skills with the aim of securing work experience and/or paid work in catering.

As Jacksons café operates a table service. Meeting and greeting new faces and taking orders was something that James struggled with at first but after a period of shadowing other trainees and staff his confidence grew, and he is now generating orders independently and a very charismatic host.

This huge step propelled James’s thirst for knowledge and his next step was to tackle money and giving change. We engaged James in practical tasks to aid his understanding of what different coins and notes represented and what change customers should expect to receive. We also supported James to learn about processing payments and recognising items to input on the tablet used at the café.

Whilst James had learned the basics of making teas and coffees at college, using the coffee machine for more specialised hot drinks was both new and daunting for him. Barista trained staff broke down the process of making each drink into smaller, manageable tasks to aid the laying down of new memories and reinforce learning.

Progressing in these three areas has massively increased James’ confidence in interacting with customers and using technology in the workplace. He’s has now enrolled in a NVQ Level 1 in Hospitality & Catering with Unity Works that will enable him to hone his skills further. When asked what he thinks about catering, James said:

It’s really good, and a great a skill to master. It helps me to give me more skills.

About our training placements.

Unity Works runs training opportunities across its social enterprises for people with a learning disability. These placements give trainees an opportunity to develop key skills within a real, thriving business, working alongside highly qualified staff who are competent both within their industry sector and also as effective and supportive mentors.

Find out more information about our training placements