Andrew is one of Work4You’s longest serving team members.
Andrew has Down’s Syndrome and has been with Work4You since the start. He started working at a retail store where he initially worked 2 hours per week. It took Andrew 6 months of supported employment training to recognize and weigh the vegetables correctly, which was one of his daily tasks. Currently, he has two jobs in different retail stores. He assists in unpacking the delivery trucks, cleaning and checking the price labels in the fridges and weighing the fruits and vegetables. The weighing of the vegetables is now done at the tills so Andrew’s job has changed and he now helps to weigh the cheese at the back of the shop.
Andrew’s manager, Yusuf, says they often receive compliments from the public – “what amazing things you have done for this young man”. He has enjoyed watching him develop personally into a competent young man and remains glad that he gave the Work4You member a chance in a real and meaningful job opportunity.
Andrew’s mum, Ruth, is a Board Member and a very active participant in the organization. Andrew’s success story has enjoyed publicity in the national media where he featured in Fairlady magazine. Andrew continues to be supported in his employment, and is a tremendous team player at his places of employment.
Ashleigh is a 22 year old young lady who, despite post matric qualification, had not been able to acquire permanent work due to difficulties related to autism. She passed matric in 2011 and completed a secretarial course in 2012. She had a 4 month period of full-time work in 2013 capturing data and recruiting, but realized that there were issues with the company.
She has assisted other business with their clerical work and data capturing, but only on a part-time or voluntary basis from home. Ashleigh studied and passed a Pastel Accounting course in 2014. She voluntarily sells clothes at a charity shop and assists with the horses at her riding school.
Ashleigh approached Work4You in January 2015 to see if we could support her in finding a suitable clerical job as she needed a quiet, low stress environment.
Ashleigh completed a work exposure visit after which a job trial followed. The work in administration suited Ashleigh and the company was so pleased with her work that she was offered a 2 month temporarily contract while another colleague went on maternity leave during May and June.
She proved to be an asset to the office and was offered a permanent contract in July 2015. She is a quiet, focused person who completed her work showing good attention to detail. Her computer skills are much appreciated. Ashleigh enjoys her work and the office environment. She hopes to soon be able to take her first steps towards acquiring her driver’s license and a car of her own.
Ayanda was knocked over by a car when he was 6 years old. He suffered a serious head injury that left him with an intellectual disability and hemiparesis (muscle weakness on only one side of the body) of his left side. Ayanda attended various schools including St Joseph’s Marist College and he applied for and received a Disability Grant once he had completed his schooling.
Ayanda began working at a sheltered employment workshop, but wanted to do ‘real’ work so he found Work4You via his ex-teachers at St Joseph’s. He began the work assessment and training process at Work4You. He was independent in the use of public transport – bus, train and taxi. Ayanda showed high motivation to work despite having difficulty reading. His work skills and habits are good and he has a very happy, out-going personality.
Ayanda started a work trial at an ice cream factory as a casual general worker. His two days of work were increased to four days eventually and he was there for nearly two years until the factory closed down. The same boss then employed him twice a week at his new business venture as his work ethic was so good. He was also employed at another factory as a picker in the store room for one day per week from March 2012. Currently Ayanda is employed one day a week with at the factory and 3 days at the manufacturing and packaging factory. He has four days of full time employment in his week.
Ayanda assists his widow mother financially with the care of his younger siblings. He has also been a very successful participant in radio interviews and public speaking opportunities to help promote Work4You.
Masande is a 21 year old, Xhosa speaking young man who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, leaving him with a right-sided hemiplegia (muscle weakness on only one side of the body). He completed his schooling in 2012.
He began at Work4You in 2013 and continued his assessment and training until February 2014. He completed a work trial at a retail store in January and then signed a contract in February 2014. Masande worked there until October 2014 when his contract was not renewed due to late arrival on a few occasions and his limited English communication. He had difficulty with train transport, especially making an alternative plan if it was disrupted.
He returned to Work4You until May 2015 when we secured a till packing position for Masande in a retail store close to his home; so the communication and travel were easier for him. This was the second position that we explored. His excellent training as a till packer during his first contract helps him to cope with his 30 to 40 hour week of work of his current job. He is confident, willing and punctual. Masande’s colleagues speak highly of him and he is happy to be saving towards a home of his own.
When asked to comment, his employer has this to say: “Masande is doing an excellent job; he is an asset to our company. He is extremely organised, can work independently and is able to multi-task to ensure that all work is completed in a timely manner.He is always willing to offer his assistance and has an excellent rapport with customers and employers. He always gives his best whenever called upon to not only serve willingly but also carry out his tasks and duties zealously and successful.”
Melikhaya is a Xhosa speaking man, who had a head injury at 3 ½ months of age due to a pedestrian/motor vehicle accident. He was treated at Red Cross Children’s Hospital and educated at schools in the Eastern Cape. The doctors, psychologists and teachers reports suggested that he would have difficulty with work in the open labour market, but might be able to work in a factory.
Melikhaya was interviewed at Work4You in early 2010 and his uncle had to wake him up during the interview to answer questions. He began assessment and training in April 2010. His work skills, habits and independence improved over the next 18 months. He traveled to work on the train, his work (quality and quantity) and his communication in English improved.
He started a work trial, for two days per week in November 2011. This was at a factory and he worked as a picker in the store room. It became a six month contract. The job involved taking a picking sheet, locating various items, placing them on a pallet, marking it appropriately, pulling it to the correct area demarcated for delivery and checking the paperwork was in order. He worked closely with a Xhosa supervisor, who was mentored by the Work4You Supported Employment Consultant to facilitate the transition from the Wagalots Workshop to open labour market employment. He was also used to collect items on top shelves using a cage, harness and forklift. He managed to do this job with minimal supervision. His two days were increased to four days by the end of 2013. He worked at the factory for just over two years. Unfortunately the factory was taken over and he had to find a new job.
In May 2014, Melikhaya began a new work placement at a different factory as a factory worker. He helps pack the sealed items from a specific machine, 6 or 12 to a box, and then seals the box and places it on a pallet. This has to be completed at the pace of the machine and other workers. He is employed five days a week with full factory hours and paid accordingly.
The gradual process from Wagalots Workshop to work trial to 2 days open labour market and eventually 5 days employment has equipped Melikhaya to cope with the demands of full employment in the open labour market. We are very proud of his achievements.
Uldriaan has learning difficulties due to his medical condition and attended a special needs school until the end of 2014. He started training at Work4You in 2015. He had to learn to use a bus independently to and from Work4You.
Uldriaan learned all of the baking processes of the manufacture of Wagalots over the next few months. As part of the work preparation, he was exposed to production line work at a local packaging factory. He started a work trial as a packer at a retail store. Uldriaan had to learn to travel independently to this venue, and it was also a test of his ability to cope with a five hour shift of work (August and September 2015.) During this trial, we explored other work possibilities for him.
In November 2015, Work4You secured a packer position at another retail store for Uldriaan. He was given a permanent position in January 2016 and is still working there with support from Work4You.
He has also shown much determination in passing his learner’s licence and driver’s licence.