As one of the biggest providers of employment, health and disability support programmes in the country, Maximus has been supporting people to change their lives for more than 70 years.
Maximus is proud to be a Disability Confident Leader and we are passionate about recruiting, retaining, and supporting those with disabilities or health conditions into work.
According to research, one in five working-age adults are disabled. While there are currently more than 4.7 million disabled people in work, disabled people are almost twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people – with an employment rate of 53%, compared to 82% for non-disabled people.
As we mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) and this year’s theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’, we recognise that while some disabilities may be not be immediately visible, they can still have a huge effect on someone’s life.
We understand how important it is to offer people the opportunity to grow and progress, with a firm belief that by providing workplace adjustments where required, individuals feel included and welcomed in the workplace.
We work with leading employers across the country who share these values, and since 2015, we have been partnering with Tesco on their Tesco Launch Placement Programme.
Through the programme, Maximus participants with a health condition or a disability, are offered the opportunity to complete a two-week work placement in a Tesco store. This enables them to gain invaluable experience in the retail sector, as well as the chance to build on their skills and improve their confidence.
Following their placement, individuals are then interviewed for a position with Tesco.
Sharon Michaelson-Yeates, Head of Employer Engagement at Maximus, commented on the partnership: “Maximus have partnered nationally with Tesco from the very beginning of their Tesco Launch programme.
“Tesco understand that some people don’t do so well at interview, so by offering a working interview – which in essence is what the Tesco Launch programme is – it enables our participants to demonstrate their skills and build their confidence.”
One participant who benefitted from the Tesco Launch Placement Programme was Martin Shields.
Despite volunteering in a local charity shop for over ten years, Martin from North Wales, struggled to find paid employment. Lacking in confidence and feeling anxious that his epilepsy and dyslexia would affect his ability to work, Martin was referred to the Intensive Personalised Employment Support Programme in Bangor.
With support from his Intensive Support Key Worker, Ellie Richards, Martin completed a placement with Tesco prior to being offered a position at their Bangor store.
Martin explained: “I wanted to work but, because of the seizures, I was worried about the type of job I went for. Maximus helped me get a placement with Tesco, which gave me the chance to experience new things and helped with my confidence.”
On his second day of work, Martin suffered a seizure. Following this incident, Maximus and Tesco collaborated to arrange in-store training for colleagues on how to care for someone having a seizure.
Martin said: “Maximus understood my disability and worked with Tesco to support me. Now my colleagues know how to support me if I have another seizure in work. Thanks to Maximus, I’m now in work, I’d recommend them to anyone looking for help to get into work.”
As an adult on the autism spectrum, Dorian Polanski was in a similar position when he was referred to Maximus’ Work and Health Programme in March.
He had been dealing with clinical depression and anxiety, but with our support, he attended the Tesco Launch Placement Programme, going on to successfully secure a position in their Holyhead store.
Dorian reflected: “The support, along with the resources, Maximus instilled in me, gave me the confidence to complete my placement with Tesco. I knew immediately that working for Tesco was something I could do well, if not excel in.
“Being supported by Maximus has helped me find my confidence, believe in myself, and actually see myself as a person.”
The relationship with Tesco is continuing to go from strength to strength. Sharon Michaelson-Yeates said: “Maximus have a wealth of experience of working with customers with disabilities and health conditions, and we work really closely with Tesco to ensure that any reasonable adjustments our participants may need are taken care of.
“Through our collaboration with Tesco we support participants across the country – from those that live in big cities as well as those that live in rural, local communities. We’re looking forward to forming an even closer relationship with Tesco to support more of our participants into sustainable employment.”
Tesco and Maximus are both committed to employing a diverse workforce, supporting their employees to make them feel included and respected. Martin and Dorian show that any individual can thrive when they are given the right opportunity to work in an accessible and inclusive environment.
If you would like to join Tesco and over 500 businesses employing diverse workforces, click here to learn more.