Young employee with autism wins hearts and minds at Exeter business.
Next week is World Autism Awareness week and 21 year old Ben Wayland from Exwick is telling his story to highlight the skills that people with autism bring to business.
Only 15% of people with autism are in any sort of paid work compared to 74% of the wider population. Yet Ben is described by his supervisor as highly intelligent with an amazing memory.
Ben is a Warehouse Operative for Red Hot Products, a professional hair product distributor based on Marsh Barton. He said “I have got Asperger’s Syndrome but I am an intelligent person. I am like any other guy and my condition is part of who I am – but really I am no different to any other person.
“I love my job. It’s rewarding. I am working with people and I am very precise. I have a very good memory and know all the Italian names of our products (it’s an Italian brand).
“I was on Job Seekers Allowance before but I hated it. You feel like you are taking off the state and it made me feel bad. I felt very depressed. I would go to the job centre to sign on but I didn’t feel like I was being supported. I didn't feel I was getting anywhere. Then I had a few bad experiences in work where I had been left by myself, not knowing what I was doing. Still I didn't let it get the better of me.”
Ben then discovered Pluss, a Social Enterprise based on Marsh Barton that has helped over 500 people with disabilities across Exeter and East Devon into work.
“Pluss helped me find the job at Red Hot Products. Now I feel I have really progressed. I am at a company that wants to achieve things. It has really lifted my confidence and changed my life because I wake up every morning and get ready for work. Working is so much better; you earn more as well.”
Ben's Supervisor at Red Hot Products, Andy Rogers, is just as delighted with his employee, “We show Ben what to do and he will quite happily get on. We have a laugh and he is part of the team. We don’t leave him on his own but we can get on with other stuff and he knows that we are there.
“It took Ben a little longer to learn the job initially but he’s really intelligent. Then one day it just clicked and he has really got it. He has an amazing memory too. It’s all in there. He comes in with a smile on his face and leaves with a smile on his face. He always comes in early, makes us a coffee and he gets on well with the team.”
“It's worked out great”, concludes Ben “I love working here and I always go home with a smile on my face. All I needed was the opportunity to showcase my ability – it’s all there!”
For further information contact Geraldine Scott-Smith (Communications Manager), on 07766 367267 or at [email protected]