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The positive impact of paid employment

20/11/2019


Nicholas joined Golden Lane Housing (GLH) as our first apprentice. Gemma Richmond talks about working with Nicholas, the positive impact of his paid employment and receiving a staff award.

I have had the privilege to have worked with Nicholas as his apprenticeship coordinator during my employment at Mencap, and now I get to be his colleague as I’ve joined GLH as a tenant engagement officer.

When I first met Nicholas he was quite shy. He struggled to hold eye contact, got extremely anxious in social situations and avoided answering the enquiries line. He would turn up on time, say hello, but mainly keep himself to himself and get on with the job at hand. During Nicholas’ apprenticeship he has pushed himself to try new things.

Over the time he has worked with each department doing administration duties. Since starting work on reception Nicholas has blossomed into a confident and positive employee. We developed sessions to role play customer facing communication and had mock phone calls to build his confidence and knowledge of how to deal with customer conflict.

Back in March 2018, Nicholas took his first live call independently and since that day there has been no stopping him. He has developed positive relationships with each team in GLH and built rapport with staff who are field based.

Nicholas is always welcoming to both visitors and staff and supported with interviewing candidates to become GLH staff. He joins in with office fun and games, has jokes with people and chats about the mischief his lovely dog Jake has been up too. He has developed his initiative and keeps himself busy with tenancy packs, books flights and travel arrangements for staff and lots more.

Nicholas received a £100 voucher earlier this year from our CEO John Verge (pictured above), as a commendation for his hard work. Nicholas was bursting with pride and as soon as I arrived in the office he was so excited to tell me all about it. He later wrote in his journal, ‘last week I received a £100 voucher from John Verge for all my hard work with GLH. I felt they didn’t have to do that, but it made me feel happy.’

Following this Nicholas has become even more confident. It gave him such a boost. He has become part of the GLH family and has since been awarded at our GLH staff day as GLH Personality of the Year. Staff nominated him for his hard work and congratulated him on his conduct and the way he brightens up the office. Receiving this has meant so much to him and when he was presented with his award he stood up in front of the whole office and said, “I am not sure what I can say, apart from thank you to you all.”

Nicholas’ Mum, Christine Finch said, “Nicholas could hardly wait for me to get through the front door, wanting to tell me all about the awards, him being awarded Personality of the Year, showing me his star award and above all showing me the nominations board that he has somehow gained possession of! His grin was from ear to ear – it was just fantastic.

That board and star will be kept forever… he’s already told me we will have to put it in the attic (once he’s finished showing everybody of course!) Big thank you to all who voted for him, and to all the staff for making him feel so comfortable and at ease at GLH and also to whoever had the bright idea of the awards in the first place – such a fun positive thing to do.”

Not only has Nicholas’s apprenticeship improved his skills, confidence and readiness for work but also helped him grow on a personal level. He fully embraces our values, and is a joy to work alongside.

Nicholas explained, “I love my job. Working here has helped me open up to people better, be more friendly. It makes me feel proud to be a small part of something big.”