Champagne has been flowing to mark the outstanding achievements of an Essex Cares service user who has worked at the same wine merchants for 20 years.
William Westbrooke, who has Down’s Syndrome, has worked at The Wine Company in Colchester for the last two decades, supported in recent years by Essex Cares’ Linked Employment service.
Employment Adviser Jonathan Smith explained that the 47-year-old is the only Linked Employment service user to have worked in the same job for such a long time. He added: “William originally started at the company on a work experience programme for 15 hours a week, undertaking tasks like preparing boxes for distribution and replenishing stock on the shop floor.
“He was so successful and demonstrated such a commitment to the company that he was given the chance to become a paid Warehouse Assistant. This was a huge boost to his confidence and even came with extra responsibilities such as bagging ice, clearing the yard and ensuring cleanliness in the warehouse.
“His job helps him feel an equal part of society and reaching his 20 year anniversary is a huge achievement for him.”
James Bond aficionado and postcard collector William said he enjoys his job so much that he is likely to be a fixture at the warehouse for the next 20 years. “I like it here because I get out and about and work with lots of people,” he said. “I know a lot about wine now – my favourite is red wine from Italy or Spain. Luckily I’ve only broken one bottle in 20 years!”
Linked Employment is a service which places adults with disabilities into jobs, assisting them to get a role of their choice which is paid at the going rate. Employment opportunities are available within all business sectors, including part time and full time roles. Meanwhile, parent company Essex Cares also helps over 100,000 people in the county to live independent lives, providing innovative services and the latest technologies to its customers.
General Manager of The Wine Company Mark Cronshaw said that William is a vital part of life at the Gosbecks Road firm. “I’m so proud of him,” he said. “He is a very valuable employee – he’s full of enthusiasm and is as diligent, hardworking and honest as any member of my team. He is a character who we all love having around.”
For more information about Essex Cares and Linked Employment, visit www.essexcares.org or call 01245 434925.