CASE STUDY – Tom – Tesco Metro

Tom is a former student at the Castle School Post-16 and was part of the WOW+ (supported internship) programme. He has moderate learning difficulties, but lots of confidence and energy, and a lively personality. He was really keen to find paid work, and to prove himself.

Tom was particularly keen to find work in a retail setting, so we set up some work experience for him in the dairy section at Sainsbury’s Superstore in Newbury. This was a regular slot, taking place once a week for six weeks. Tom quickly excelled in this placement; he completed tasks independently and took evident pride in his work, forming a great relationship with the dairy supervisor. After a few weeks he was offered the opportunity to move to an extended work placement, lasting several months. Through the placement we saw Tom develop new maturity and focus.

By the end of his placement Tom was very confident in his role and we felt he had developed the skills and understanding necessary to gain paid work in this area. Tom himself felt that this was an area he definitely wanted to pursue for future employment. We all agreed that he would do well in a smaller store, with more flexibility within the role and so we approached our local Tesco Metro, with whom we already had a good working relationship. The store were recruiting for new staff at that point and agreed that Tom could start a new work placement with them, with a view to gaining paid employment if everything went well.

On starting his work placement at Tesco Metro, Tom immediately made a great impression; he worked really hard and impressed the regular members of the team. After a few weeks, the store manager contacted us, saying she wanted to offer Tom a permanent part-time job in stock replenishment. We supported Tom through a modified recruitment process, and Tom started paid work at the store a couple of months after starting the work placement. His hours were arranged to fit around school commitments.

Tom continued to work in the store through the Covid-19 pandemic. He had to adapt quickly to the changes, procedures and challenges facing the retail industry at this time. Under these conditions, Tom needed to progress in his role at a faster rate than might normally have been the case; working independently, dealing with difficult customers and learning to work on the checkouts. Tom took everything in his stride, becoming a key member of the Tesco team, and took on increased hours after leaving school.

Going to work gives me independence and the routine that I need. I love that every day is different and I have learnt a lot”