Aishah is a bubbly and enthusiastic young lady with autism, who was first referred to United Response’s Trafford Supported Employment service in late 2009, hoping to gain paid employment.

She already had some previous experience working with children, though she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next.

Through working with the supported employment team, Aishah discovered that she was very open-minded about what kind of job she took on, but wanted to work with people in a customer-facing role as she is chatty, friendly and sociable.

Initially, Aishah went out and about in the local community with support staff to see what kind of jobs were available.

The supported employment process

In early 2010, Aishah heard that her local Lowry Vue cinema in Machester was hiring new staff, so her support team approached the cinema’s manager, Dan, and opened a stream of communication with him. He was very interested in the services United Response provide and asked that Aishah apply online.

With support from her team, she applied successfully and was invited for an interview at which she excelled. Staff then entered negotiations with the manager to ensure that the role would be beneficial for both Aishah and her new employers, making sure that the working hours were practical for Aishah and that any identifiable obstacles could be overcome with training.

Aishah initially started with one four-hour daytime shift per week, and later progressed to two shifts and overtime as and when needed, after showing how valuable she was as a member of the team.

Cinema manager Dan says: “She’s a big hit with all the customers and staff. She’s no different to anybody else that works for me, and I’d say, in fact, she probably knows the job a lot better than some of the other staff do.”

Gaining independence

Aishah also required travel training to ensure she could safely and easily get to and from work using public transport, which included walking there and back to the station, taking the local Manchester Metrolink and changing trains, before navigating the complex corridor system in the underbelly of the shopping centre where the cinema is located.

She picked this up quickly and now travels and works independently with no further support unless requested or needed. She keeps in touch with the supported employment team, however, and drops in to see them regularly when she’s working in the office as part of our UR Consultants team.

Aishah takes pride in her work and is pleased with what she has achieved.

“Some people don’t always give you a fair chance in this world, unfortunately,” she told us. “It feels good to have a fair chance.”

Watch Aishah in action

In 2014, Aishah, her manager Dan and United Response created this video about her experience of supported employment. Take a look:

Laura Cook, web and digital communications assistant.

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