Hull company Sewell to shine light on disability in the workplace

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 15 May 2019

A leading Hull company will shine a light on disability in the workplace next week as it celebrates 25 years of business.

Sewell Facilities Management – part of Sewell Group - will host the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) North Region event at its home in Geneva Way on Thursday, May 23.

The Hull business has given more than 30 people with learning disabilities and differences paid jobs or work experience at Sewell sites across East Yorkshire.

One of those people is Elliot Parkinson, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.

He made several visits to the Job Centre and took on a number of work experience opportunities but felt like he was on the road to nowhere.

However, after being referred to the Humber branch of charity Mencap, he was invited to take part in an eight-week work trial with Sewell Facilities Management, carrying out a cleaning role.

Now, two years on, Elliot is still working part-time for Sewell Facilities Management at a Hull primary school and said paid employment had given him a new outlook on life.

Elliot Parkinson has been supported by Sewell Facilities Management (Peter Harbour)

He said: "I think the main thing is my confidence. It has definitely built up and my communication skills have really improved.

"Before, I was a bit shy about speaking to people. But I'm more confident to speak to the people I've worked with here."

Read more: Humber Business Week 2019 - all the events and how to get involved

Sewell’s work involving disability and the workplace stemmed from a partnership signed between its Facilities Management arm and Mencap back in 2017.

People involved in the project since have had autism, mild and moderate learning disabilities and learning differences.

Martin Stead, managing director at Sewell Facilities Management, said: “We are delighted to host this seminar and help to raise awareness of the major positive impact Abilities in Facilities continues to have.

Paul Sewell will also speak at the event on May 23 (Sewell Group)

“This unique programme is something we are incredibly proud of and it is undoubtedly something which other people can easily adopt within their own organisations.

“There is no barrier to success if people are supported in the right way and given opportunities to help them thrive in a working environment.”

Read more: Hull company helps create jobs for young people with learning disabilities

Sewell staff have completed specific training to help them progress and feel supported in their roles as they looked to secure opportunities in the world of work.

Martin Stead will be among those to speak at the seminar on May 23, alongside I.C.E. Ability founder Kerrie White, who was instrumental in establishing Abilities in Facilities.

The pair will be joined Sewell Group chairman Dr Paul Sewell OBE, Department for Work and Pensions and Humber LEP Skills Board professional Gill Dillon MBE, Thrive Law’s Jody Hill, and Hull disability blogger Kai Gill.

Networking opportunities and refreshments will be included in the event, which is free to anyone to attend.

To book your place at the IWFM North event, which runs from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on Thursday, May 23, click here .

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