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Inclusion & equality in the workplace

By February 19, 2021August 11th, 2021No Comments

Here at Rail Services we are proud to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, working in collaboration with our partners to provide opportunities for all.

Following our participation in last week’s Purple Light Up event, also known as International Day of Disabilities which celebrates the economic contribution of 386 million disabled employees around the world, we are pleased to share with you the story of Loughlin Martin, a new face working as part of the cleaning team at our Metro infrastructure hub in Trefforest.

Loughlin is autistic, often feeling anxious and withdrawn as well as requiring a little additional support to help him carry out his role to the best of his ability.

We are pleased to say that Loughlin has recently started work as a cleaner for our cleaning contractors Sparkles Wales & West Ltd.

Loughlin acquired his new role having initially answered a job posting with the local Job Centre Plus. After working for a short time on another site, Sparkles identified that Loughlin would need some further support requirements when carrying out his role and to secure employment in a more suitable environment.

In order to get this support, Sparkles got in touch with a company called Elite, a specialist supported employment provider that look to empower and provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities or those at a disadvantage across South, Mid and West Wales.

Elite work with people of all ages with various support requirements, which could be a learning disability, a physical disability or somebody who is struggling with their mental health.

Elite seek to create a vocational profile based on the participants’ requirements before contacting potential employers who would best suit the action plan for that individual. If that individual is successful and granted employment, they then receive one to one support from a professional job coach provided by Elite to develop their skills within a workplace environment at no cost to the employer.

After it was decided that Loughlin would require a job coach to carry out his role, he was paired with Rachel Holley, a full time Elite employee. Rachel’s role is to work with Loughlin at the beginning of his employment to make sure that he understands all the elements of his role and to complete task analysis on things such as his day to day cleaning tasks, health and safety practices, social interactions and appropriate behaviour in the workplace.

Rachel will continue to work with Loughlin for however long it takes for him to complete tasks to the required standard, and with time, the ambition is that Rachel will empower Loughlin to become fully independent and comfortable in his new job.

Rachel has been working with Loughlin for a few weeks now and spoke about how much she has enjoyed her time with him so far:

“Loughlin is a very funny individual, full of personality which makes my job coaching him very interesting as we get along so well.

“He’s very intelligent, which has enabled him to develop his cleaning skills really quickly. Loughlin sometimes struggles to focus on his daily routine, so we work on developing coping strategies.

“Loughlin is very well respected and liked among his co-workers in the cleaning team, they dedicate a lot of time towards mentoring him.

“I firmly believe Loughlin will go far within his career at Sparkles and it really is a joy to job coach him”.

Speaking about his new role, Loughlin himself said “I really enjoy working at Sparkles and my colleagues are very friendly and helpful. I also enjoy working at different locations. Due to my OCD, I enjoy cleaning, it really gives me job satisfaction.

Sparkles’ Managing Director Ceri Jennings is pleased to have Loughlin on board and spoke about what inclusion and equality in the workplace means to them, saying:

“We are delighted to have Loughlin on board with us. He has been a welcome addition to our team from the start and we feel we have grown as a company because of the learning that we have taken from employing him.

“It broke my heart when I had the pleasure to speak to Loughlin’s mum when he first came on board with us and she said “I don’t think you will employ him for long, I’ve been told that he will never hold down a job”.

But with a few phone calls, a bit of patience and incredible support from Rachel and Elite, Loughlin has become an established and well-valued member of the team.

“Sparkles is incredibly proud to be a disability confident employer. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity for employment and sometimes with just some simple adjustments, employers really can make a massive difference. We have had five members of our team recently complete the Autism awareness course and gain the relevant certificates, which I think evidences our commitment to inclusion and making everybody feel comfortable in the workplace”.

Paul Kibble, an Employment Advisor for Elite also added:

“Inclusion in the workplace and society is a core value here at Elite. It enables people who may otherwise be vulnerable to take control of their lives, allowing them to develop skills and gain experience.

“It also allows them to exercise their choices and the responsibility they feel as a member of society, making decisions to change their circumstances for the better”.

Here at Transport for Wales Rail Services we are incredibly proud to be an employer of equal opportunities and consider diversity and inclusion in the workplace as one of our key values.

Commenting on Loughlin’s story, our Accessibility & Inclusion Manager Dr. Robert Gravelle added:

“It’s great to have Loughlin on board; his disability will be a real asset to our operation as well as illustrating the rich diversity which we at TfW hold dear.

I’m sure that Loughlin will soon become an invaluable member of the team. We all wish him every success”.