My name’s Patrick and I’m 19 years old.  I joined the Oxfordshire Supported Internship Programme, during my final year in college, and I spend two days a week in a work placement supported by Mencap.

I really wanted a job working in a restaurant or a café or bistro, so Mencap helped me to find a work placement that I would enjoy. At the same time I would learn new skills that would help me to get a job. My placement is at JD Wetherspoon’s, and I’ve been working there since September 2016.

Before starting my placement, I needed to find out how travel to work, so I’d get to work on time. My job coach, Annie, helped me by setting a travel training challenge that I had to complete, and I now have the confidence to travel to work by myself.

At work, I welcome and serve customers with food, clear and clean tables, keep clean glasses available, carry out front door checks and ask customers for their feedback.

I like being part of a team. I help the other staff during busy lunchtimes, and keep customers happy so that they visit again.  Annie’s helping me improve my communication skills to talk to customers, and so I’m not worried to ask for advice from the team when I’m working.  My Managers, Lina and Donna, tell me I do a great job and want me to stay as part of the team at the end of my internship.  

Sometimes I find it difficult to talk to other staff members, but this is getting better. When I’m working in the restaurant with my colleague Mark , he always takes time to explain changes on the menus. He’s very good at reminding me what I should do during quiet times of the day.  I enjoy the work I do in my placement and I think it is a great programme which has helped me to learn new skills, keep me focussed and give me the confidence to get a paid job!

Patrick works very hard, he is always polite and friendly to customers and staff.  We receive lots of positive feedback about him. Our team enjoys encouraging and supporting him to do well and we appreciate him working here at Wetherspoon’s.’

Lina, General Manager at The Exchange, Banbury

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Find out more about Patrick's story

Employers often fail to see beyond a person’s learning disability due to a lack of understanding. By offering online only applications, formal interviews, and a lack of adjustments, employers can create barriers without realising it. 

Watch Patrick's video about his journey into employment.

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