It is time for another Jobseeker Spotlight from ELITE Supported Employment. Today, we are shining the light on our Engage to Change participant Sam who lives in Swansea. Sam, who is 24, is currently working at Costa Cwmdu after receiving support from both ELITE Supported Employment and Costa Coffee! His journey into employment started in early 2018 when he visited our Engage to Change Employment Advisor team based out of Llandarcy.

Sam first came to ELITE with a desire to gain meaningful employment, there were a few barriers in the way that prevented him doing this himself. With a diagnosed ASD (Austim Spectrum Disorder), Sam’s main hurdles revolved around processing speech and language alongside confidence issues. Bev and Gill of the Swansea Employment Advisor team got to work in creating Sam’s employment plans while scouting the local community for job vacancies. Through further talks with Sam, it was clear that he was happy in fast-paced environments that required aspects of physical work. He was still rather nervous around customer interaction so any positions that could avoid this in large quantities was favourable. The team highlighted various back-of-house catering vacancies with Sam eventually opting for a Kitchen Team Member position at Costa Coffee. Sam was offered the position at the Tawe Park location in the summer of 2018.

When Sam started at Costa, his Employment Advisor Gill was there to get him settled into his new routine. She had this to say on Sam’s progression early on:

“Sam showed great promise early on. The Costa team were really accommodating and took any difficulties that Sam had into account. After a few days, Sam had relaxed into his new routine and started to show confidence. Before long, he was showing me how to use some of the complex washing machines in the kitchen! He has challenged himself to improve his customer interaction skills and has even started conversing with Costa customers on occasion. He has been a pleasure to job coach and I’m pleased with his improvements”

Sam continued to impress the ELITE Employment Advisors and Costa team by the time the busy Christmas period arrived. Covering multiple shifts a week, Sam was brought to the attention of the latest Costa team opening a new location in Cwmdu, Swansea. As a staff member who took to new tasks with ease who was well versed in the Costa working practices, the new Costa location requested for Sam’s transfer to their new store! Continuing his role as a Kitchen Team Member, Sam’s new location cut his commute in half as he adapted to the larger Costa store with relative ease without the assistance of ELITE’s Employment Advisors. As Sam approaches his one-year anniversary working for Costa, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate him on all his successes in work to date – well done Sam!