Employers should focus on the abilities of people with Down’s Syndrome, it was argued.
Roy Perrett, who worked as a police control room manager for 40 years, has taken on a new role as liaison officer for Wiltshire’s WorkFit program, a program that helps people with Down’s syndrome find work-related activities .
Swindon’s Down’s Syndrome Group’s new employment manager now wants to encourage more companies to contact him so he can match candidates with their dream job.
Roy, 61, said: “It’s about giving people with Down syndrome a chance in life to achieve some of their goals and aspirations.
“Work gives you so much. It gives you the opportunity to build relationships with your colleagues, learn new skills, and can increase your self-esteem and value.
“People with Down’s syndrome have all kinds of dreams and aspirations, so I look for all types of businesses.
“For example, Todd now works as a scaffolding while Luke works for the police, so we want to find a variety of employers.”
Part of Roy’s inspiration to join the team was his experience with his brother. Craig, who died of pneumonia at the age of 54 in 2019, suffered from cerebral palsy.
Roy added: “It was an absolute joy and such an inspiration.
“Most of the time he was suffering from his disability and it was overwhelming, but he had so much ability.
“My family and I focused on what he could do instead of what he couldn’t.
“I thought I could do this for people with Down’s syndrome, recognizing their skills and promoting them.
“They have a lot of abilities and we all have to focus on those because they have a lot to offer.”
Roy was already involved in the WorkFit program when he worked for the Wiltshire Police.
He helped Luke find his dream job while working for the police. Luke first started out as a volunteer, but is now working on a permanent paid contract as administrator of the Wiltshire Police Crime and Communications Center.
Roy first got involved when he attended a coffee morning with Swindon Down’s Syndrome Group and felt saddened by the obstacles candidates said they faced.
He said: “It was really quite sad but also very frustrating and I couldn’t understand why it was so difficult for them to get down to work.
“Wiltshire Police want to represent the community they serve by making the staff more diverse. The force is open to hiring anyone.”
Roy’s new role at SDSG is to support both employers and potential candidates throughout the process.
Jobs can be paid, volunteering, work experience and internships.
Only 5.1 percent of people with a learning disability are employed, but over 90 percent of WorkFit candidates are still employed one year after starting.
An online employer event for those interested in learning more about WorkFit will be held on March 3.