The initiative has involved working with one of the city’s biggest private employers, GXO, a company that runs warehouses and distribution centres for big retailers and brands. GXO employs over 31,000 employees in the UK, and circa 500 in Bristol with sites across the city and the West of England.
GXO and Mencap are looking to expand the scheme in the city and are seeking new candidates who are looking to start a career.
In Bristol, Mencap and GXO have joined forces to run a traineeship scheme for individuals with learning difficulties. This programme has led GXO to award four young people with autism their certificate of completion for their 16-week traineeship programme and jobs with GXO in the Bristol area.
For three of these recruits, this will be their first ever permanent jobs. This is a huge milestone for each, and will allow them to move towards financial independence.
Speaking about his traineeship experience, new GXO recruit John comments: “I have learned a lot from my traineeship with Mencap and GXO. I feel like it’s built up my confidence and given me the skills I need to do the job really well. GXO has been so friendly and welcoming. I’ve now been offered a full-time role at GXO which I’ve accepted, and I’m really excited to get started!”
Another of the new hires, Damian, comments: “I like cleaning and wanted a job doing this. I was offered a work trial with GXO cleaning in the warehouse. I feel good about my job with GXO, I like it because I have support to learn my role, I do cleaning and I have learned to get the bus from my house. GXO has made me feel welcome. I feel happy.”
Gavin Williams, Managing Director for GXO UK and Ireland comments: “At GXO we are proud of our culture that allows everyone to thrive; diversity and focus on collaboration is key to how we run our business. We are delighted to be celebrating the success of these outstanding people and look forward to working with them in their new roles.”
Mark Capper, Head of Development in the Lifestyles & Work team at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: “We are delighted to be working with GXO to support more people with a learning disability into employment. Many people with a learning disability can work and want to work and with the right support they can make fantastic employees.
“Working can be more than just a job - it can make people with a learning disability feel valued and included in society. It’s also an important way for people to have financial independence and means. With cost of living rises, having a significant and guaranteed income will be important to many people.
“However, people with a learning disability often face barriers to employment because of stigma and a lack of understanding, yet often all that is needed is small and cost-effective reasonable adjustments. Mencap can provide support to employers when hiring people with a learning disability - we can support with everything from making application processes more accessible through to providing job coaches, ultimately helping to open opportunities for this untapped talent pool.”
This is not the first successful programme from GXO and Mencap. In September 2021, GXO hired three recruits following their Mencap traineeship in Rugby, and a further two people used the skills and confidence they developed during the programme to secure employment in another sector.