Connor is celebrating landing a job at a local takeaway.
With support from his SLSW Carer Les Redfern-Phillips and SLSW respite carer Helga Crosland he is now working in KFC.
He started work earlier this month and had his induction and will be working 15 hours a week ‘permitted work’, which has been authorised by DWP and enables him to keep his benefits.
He has been supported by his SLSW Carers Lesley and Phil Redfern-Philips who have helped him with all his paperwork and ID etc.
Connor is also thankful to his SLSW respite carer Helga Crosland, who was the person who encouraged him to apply for the role and who has had a huge positive impact on his life.
“I went to the cinema with Helga’s son Harrison and we went to KFC afterwards and while there one of the workers said there were vacancies to work there.
“When I got back I told Helga and she told me to apply, I said I couldn’t but she encouraged me and was so supportive, so I did.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the job. I’ve had an induction and then started work. I started on the drive-through and loved the experience. I slept for 16 hours after my first shift as it was my first ever job.”
Connor, who has lived within a SLSW household for seven years, is so excited about his future and sees the job as a turning point in his life.
“I’m really chuffed and I have more money in my pocket,” he said.
“I enjoy my life and enjoy living within a SLSW family. I cook meals sometimes and enjoy spending time with the dog Billy, he’s such a character and charmer.”
Helga said she has seen a big change in Connor, who has stayed with the family for three breaks and has made good friends with Harrison, Helga’s son.
“When he first came he said he was anxious, but said he wanted to make a change and not sit on his Xbox and game all the time,” said Helga.
“He also saw my son Harrison going to work. He has autism and works as a postman for Royal Mail. It gave him something to think about.
“After he told me about applying for the job he said he wouldn’t be good in the interview, so he called me and we did some interview roleplay on the phone to prepare him and sorted him some clothes for the interview.
“We’re all very chuffed for him.”
Since starting his work, he still calls Helga and she says his enjoyment is taking over from the anxiety and he is ‘loving it’.
His confidence has also grown with the animals that Helga keeps.
“When he first came he didn’t want to get involved, but slowly with some encouragement he’s got more involved with feeding them and now knows the sheep by name. Rambo is his favourite, ” said Helga.
“He now knows the routine and on a recent stay I said to him to go up to the animals on his own and I’d follow him up after. I said to not go in with the cows, but he could feed them from the gate, to keep himself safe. He now knows what to feed all the animals and when I went up there after him I could see he was chuffed and there was a real sense of achievement.”
“It was a surprise, I didn’t know where we were going for food and Helga told me to save some money to pay for my meal,” said Connor.
“When we got there I had a cake and it was a big surprise. Helga also paid for my meal which was a real treat and shows I can save money, which is also good.”