Success Stories


Client A was initially referred to us through JCP as a young person who would benefit from volunteering and gaining skills and experience in the workplace. His main barrier was his diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism and his tendency to –in his own words – have “mini meltdowns” in situations which stressed him. He volunteered in the shop for 3 months and became a real asset to the team – he was a natural at providing excellent customer service and had a great work ethic. Our L & D Support Worker worked closely with client in partnership with Scottish Autism to identify and alleviate any situations where client may become upset or stressed. Client A then progressed onto a paid role through CJS – again he was fully supported to integrate into this paid job. Towards the end of his contract, a work experience placement was set up for client at the Co-op. He got on great there and was offered a permanent contract at Co-op where he still works. In his own words – “I had a lot of problems coming into the job at Restart. Since being there I have achieved many goals – I am successful in my job, I feel better, my mental and physical health has improved and I feel a lot better about myself. The skills I picked up at Restart I have carried over into my new job – customer service skills, handling money and operating till, paperwork and team working “. 


Client B feels that he learnt a lot from his time at Restart, including manual handling and customer service skills. After six months working there on a CJS contract, he was pleased to have this extended, bringing his length of employment up to a year.

“It built my confidence, because the people that work here are so nice — they’re always smiling — and they had confidence in me,” client explained.

“Whenever they needed a job doing, they came to me and asked, and they would trust me to get that done.”

Happy to lend a hand wherever he could, he soon found his niche as a van assistant — helping with collections and deliveries. It was through this that he found a good level of job satisfaction and built a rapport with customers.

“You’re going to people’s houses that have donated stuff, and then you’re collecting it. So you get to have a nice chat, and usually the person would offer you a cup of tea and say thank you,” he continued.

“I love working with the general public, because it’s one of my strong suits — being polite and confident — I would always go the extra mile.”

Employability Orkney also helped the client to secure skills for further employment by allowing him to attend work experience outside of the scheme.  His job coach helped him to apply for a job at a local supermarket and client was offered an interview. Again, he was coached on interview techniques and was delighted to be offered a post. He is thriving in this job, putting his customer service skills to good use!


Client C, came to Restart Orkney as a volunteer in August 2015 after a period of unemployment which had dented her confidence and self-esteem. “ I jumped at the chance to volunteer” said client “it was a worthwhile use of my time and I learned new skills as well as gaining in confidence”. In November she was offered a 6 month paid contract, again in the shop, which she really enjoyed and was progressing in leaps and bounds. She worked closely with Ian her support worker during this time who noticed she had a natural rapport with clients and volunteers with different support needs. When a vacancy at Enable came up, supporting disabled people in their own house, Ian suggested she had the necessary qualities and should apply for it. Ian helped her with her application and she secured an interview. Ian then coached her on interview techniques and arranged for her to attend a mock interview at NHS Orkney. Client did a really good interview and was offered a permanent 20 hour a week contract. “I was absolutely delighted and I really love my new job” said client “I couldn’t have done it without the help and support I received from Employability Orkney”.


Client D, a young man in his early twenties was referred to us from JCP. He was offered a 6 month CJS contract as a general assistant. He had just returned to Orkney after living south for several years in care and had a substantial criminal record and history of drug misuse and mental ill health. His ADHD made him an extremely difficult employee to manage and he needed constant coaching on appropriate behaviour, especially causing disturbances around other staff. He admitted he didn’t really like the job as “there is not enough to do” and he needed a job where he was constantly busy so he didn’t feel the need to cause distractions. To his credit, he stuck in as he realised this job could be a stepping stone towards what he really wanted. Through his local contact with CITB, Ian identified a potential job opportunity for client as a builder’s labourer with a busy local firm. He spoke to employer and arranged an interview which went well. Client was taken on immediately and is still working. As identified, he has no time to fool around and distract others as it is an extremely busy job which client is thoroughly enjoying.


Client E, was referred by SDS and had recently left school, with no firm idea what he wanted to do. He was offered a 9 month CJS contract as a Retail Assistant. Timekeeping and attendance were major issues which he needed coaching on, as well as confidence building. He did have aspirations of working at sea so Ian helped him apply for the 4 basic courses he would need for this. CJS training funding was secured, client attended courses through Orkney College and passed them all. A short while after, a job was advertised for Passenger Services Assistant on Northlink Ferries. Ian helped him apply and he secured an interview. Client was prepared and coached for interview, he did really well and was offered a relief position due to his age. At this stage there were many hurdles to overcome with Northlink HR due to client’s age. Ian liaised with Northlink on client’s behalf and eventually client had to attend further training in Aberdeen and Glasgow. Client was very low at this point and needed a lot of moral and practical support as he had never travelled south on his own before. He did really well, passing all courses and the time came when he was eventually inducted and started working relief shifts on the Hamnavoe. Feedback from supervisors on board was great and client is really enjoying the work.


Client F is a young man who suffered a brain haemorrhage as a young teenager, resulting in weakness in left hand side of body and memory problems. He was keen to find employment but he was not confident and it was proving difficult to find a job suitable for him and this affected his self-esteem.

Client was referred to us from JCP as they felt he would benefit from on the job support available here.  He was offered an 18 month CJS contract in our reception area –client wasn’t initially looking for this type of work but he thought he would “give it a go”. Adaptations were made to the phone system to enable client to answer the phone and he started to learn other new skills such as database entry, mail sorting and scheduling of deliveries and collections. Client was fully supported throughout his time at Employability Orkney – his support worker especially worked on developing client’s communication skills as well as practical aspects of the job. During his time here client had to undergo 2 major brain surgeries which was understandably a stressful and worrying time but his job was kept open for him to at least ensure continuity of employment.

Slowly but surely client’s confidence increased. As client says himself “I liked working with different people and my self-worth increased by contributing to the community and doing a job where my disability didn’t matter”.

Towards the end of client’s contract he was fully supported and encouraged to search and apply for other jobs. He was also referred on to Danny Oliver, Employment Support Officer at OIC to ensure client had continuous support. Danny and Ian worked together with client to identify and apply for jobs as well as intensive coaching on interview techniques. When a suitable opportunity arose at Tesco, Danny liaised with management there and advocated on client’s behalf regarding his disability and capabilities. Client was successful at interview and was offered a temporary contract in the busy lead up to Christmas, working on the tills.

Client was delighted to be offered a job – “I was nervous and excited, but more relaxed after my first shift. Again, I am glad I have a job where my disability doesn’t matter. Tesco make adjustments for me so I always scan items with my good side. My supervisor there is really nice and understanding and always happy to help me”. Client did so well at the job that he has now been offered a permanent contract! This has had a positive impact on client and how he feels about himself – “I am feeling a lot better now – not so low and my memory is also better”. Client also enjoys the “banter” with colleagues and states he is “enjoying life”.


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