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Just before Christmas we received an update about Ryan who had been working at Tesco (Ellesmere) as part of his work experience at Derwen College.  Ryan left college in the summer and was more recently offered a trial period of work at his local Tesco store in Solihull.

The great news is that Ryan’s hard work has resulted in him securing paid employment at Tesco and his contract is due to start this month (January).  The news was all the more welcome as, only weeks earlier, Ryan had been told that Tesco would be unable to offer him any permanent work when his trial period ended. In fact, Ryan went right up to the end of his time believing that his dream had been shattered.  Read this in this extract from his mum’s email below.

He (Ryan) went in last Friday for his last shift and had been told right up until then that although they wanted to keep him they couldn’t.  He had taken thank you gifts in for Nigel, Laura and all the staff and it was the week of his birthday.  They threw a little party for him on the Tuesday – so kind.  He is supported at Tesco by Daryl on a Tuesday and Sara on a Friday and Sara was asked to go and see Nigel, the Manager.  She said she felt as if she had been called into the Head Teacher’s office!!  She is absolutely thrilled that they have offered him paid work.”

Now read on a little further to see how this resourceful young man managed to turn the situation around.

I am learning about how things have happened very slowly but a lot is because Ryan seems to have become pretty popular with some of the customers.  They have sent in feedback resulting in him receiving several ‘wow’ awards, but I found out today that people have also emailed Head Office which then gets filtered down to the store.  Some customers say they don’t mind him being slightly slower, they wait for him to serve them!!  Nigel said they would be mad to let him go.”

Ryan, we are so proud of you here at the Derwen!  Walk tall!

Credit must go to Tesco for being flexible, finding hours for Ryan which fitted in with their needs, Ryan being employed on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons when demand is highest.  Of course this was not entirely good news for Ryan as he will be working when his favourite Birmingham City are playing but I am sure he will dedicate himself as much to the store as to Saint Andrews, Birmingham’s home ground. In fact, Fridays are going to be quite tiring for Ryan as he will also be working voluntarily on the till at a local coffee shop which means that, until his new contract begins in January, he will have to go straight from one shop to another.  He won’t mind, he prefers to be busy as we know here.

Supported by Steps (see link below), Ryan will earn his keep without affecting his Disability Living Allowance or his Employment Support Allowance.

I will finish as Mrs Ensor finished:

It is a credit to Ryan and all of you at Derwen for the way he was trained in customer services.  If you are still in contact with Tesco at Ellesmere please convey our appreciation and good news.”

All of which makes a whole lot of people from Ryan, his family, Tesco staff, Steps and ourselves feel like this is just the good cheer we need at Christmas time.

Some useful links:

Disability Living Allowance

Employment Support Allowance

Steps Supported Employment (Solihull) – There’s a familiar face on their opening page too.  Well done, Neil, another former Derwen student, seen there working hard in the grounds of a local school.

Tesco Ellesmere and Solihull