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Learning Disability Work Experience Week: Clifford's Story

7 November 2016

Mencap’s Learning Disability Work Experience Week reveals that over half of the public say they would prefer to work for a company that employs people with a learning disability

Niamh McNally

I work as a volunteer in the Assisi shop and animal sanctuary. 

I have been in the animal sanctuary for two years now, one day a week and love working with all the animals, helping the staff to deal with food for the animals and the donations. There is a lot for me to do every day like cleaning the van, keeping the grounds and food store clean and tidy.  

At the start when I came here, I wasn’t using my initiative but now I am and starting to use more of my initiative, doing things without having to go and ask the staff. All the staff here are great and I like all the different types of animals that they have here.

Work experience helps people readjust getting back into work and helping with new skills like listening, following instructions, being on time. When I came here I needed to be aware of the dogs that you don’t go near in case they bite you. 

The work experience has helped me. When I went for a job interview, my Employment Officer helped me to prepare by asking me different questions. I didn’t get it because I didn’t have any retail experience but then I started working in the Assisi shop to get that experience. 

I work in the shop two days a week and the best thing is doing deliveries. I help out with all different things like lifting furniture, tidying DVD’s, books and clothes. Customers come over to me asking prices and I help them out as well. There is a new manager, Patricia, in the shop now and I am getting to know her now as Heather has left. I have been in the shop for five months. I would like to stay as a volunteer at the sanctuary and get more retail experience in the shop so that I can put that on my CV.

NI Learning Disability Work Experience Week

Find out how we're helping improve employment opportunities for people in Northern Ireland with a learning disability - and how you can support us too

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''Mencap helped me get the job in Assisi when I was doing nothing. I am growing as a person and growing my skills for work, I’m doing better as time goes on.''