Talent Match Staffordshire Case Study – Brad

Brad has had quite the journey with Talent Match Staffordshire. He lives in Lichfield and participated in the Talent Match programme from December 2015 for 18 months. At the start of his Talent Match journey Brad’s main aspiration was to become a gardener.

Brad has learning difficulties, however, these have never held him back, right from the off Brad became a very active member of the Talent Match Staffordshire programme, regularly calling in to the office to see the team and was always eager to get involved with whatever Talent Match Staffordshire had going on, including becoming a member of Talent Match Staffordshire’s Youth Action Team (YAT).

The Youth Action Team

The YAT help Talent Match to steer the project, ensuring it remains “By Young People, For Young People”. Some of the projects that Brad led as a member of the YAT, included helping Talent Match to prepare for their annual conference, having spent a considerable amount of time creating badges with a badge maker, making name tags and putting together promotional materials in conference packs.

Work Experience and Training

Brad initially struggled with juggling Talent Match, the Job Centre and other commitments he was involved in, however, he always made sure Talent Match were in the loop with his activities. By February of 2016, Brad had managed to gain a week’s paid temporary work at Geescapes Gardening through a friend. Following this, Talent Match worked closely with the Job Centre to ensure that Brad was able to balance his commitments to them while also taking advantage of a 3 month gardening course with the Cherry Orchard Gardening Service (COGS), which supports people with disabilities to learn how to garden.

The COGS course gave Brad some insight into gardening as a trade, in addition to experience with learning how to do gardening tasks to a high standard, as setting up his own gardening business was Brad’s long-term goal. When the 3 month course finished Talent Match spoke to the Job Centre and COGS and managed to arrange for Brad to carry on at COGS with a view to eventually learn to become one of their self-employed gardeners.

The week before Brad was due to start his placement with COGS, Brad expressed his desire to shift his focus to paid work and came on a group interview for Wall Island McDonalds, organised by Talent Match. This surprised the Talent Match team as up until that point, Brad had only wanted to work outdoors. Brad performed well at the interview for Wall Island McDonalds, having had previously completed a substantial amount of interview preparation in his weekly sessions with Talent Match. Brad was delighted to receive a job offer from Wall Island McDonalds, and started working with them in October 2015.

“I’m lovin it” McDonalds Wall Island

After having worked at Wall Island McDonalds for just one month, Brad caught up with Talent Match to tell them all about his new role and work place. Brad expressed his gratitude to Talent Match, saying that already “he feels like he has always been there and really enjoys it”. He talked at length of all that he was able to do with the money he was now earning, including going bowling and going to the driving range with his friends.

5 Years of Talent Match Staffs

Brad has now been in sustained employment with Wall Island McDonalds for close to 3 and a half years, since that time he has continued to be an ardent supporter of Talent Match Staffordshire, having gone so far as to frame his hoody to remind him of the people who helped him to get a job! The Talent Match Staffordshire team were delighted to invite Brad to take part in our Talent Match 5th Birthday Celebration in March 2019. Brad attended in his McDonalds uniform chatting with the Mayor of Lichfield, Councillor David Leytham and the Staffordshire Commissioner Police, Fire and Crime, Matthew Ellis, showcasing a fantastic sustained outcome of of the project.

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