Taking time to understand people as individuals means we can all be supported to achieve our goals and dreams. We all have qualities, abilities and potential - a good society needs everyone’s contribution (take a look at our EPIC Values). 

Employers like Co-op understand this - by having the vision to see the value in everyone!

Josh is currently working in the Rochester Riverside branch of Co-op as part of his Supported Internship with bemix.

Following Josh's Employer Review Meeting, Riverside Co-op Store Manager, Liam, requested Disability Awareness Training for his management team. Liam and his team wanted to learn how to better support Josh. As well as this, they hoped to broaden their knowledge and understanding about the challenges faced and strengths held by people with learning disabilities.  

Josh accepted the opportunity and co-produced the training with his Employment Specialist, Sam. At bemix, co-production is at the heart of all we do and we co-produce as much of our work as possible. Co-production means working together equally and sharing the power to make decisions. 


Josh and Sam worked together on the presentation for two weeks before he confidently and professionally delivered it to the team. He explained the challenges he faces, in his own words. He also shared the strengths he feels he brings to the team at the Co-op. The training created the opportunity for everyone to discuss how the team can work with Josh to support him going forward. The team learned from Josh, as an Expert by Experience.

“Knowing now that people here know what it's like to have a disability they will be more aware of how it feels to work with someone with a disability. I feel it has helped the team to understand me better.” - Josh

“I really feel as though the training expanded my knowledge of learning disabilities and feel much more confident on how to make people with such disabilities feel more comfortable in a work environment and everyday life situations.” - Jordon, Riverside Store Team Leader 

"Really appreciate Sam and Josh taking the time to go through training session with myself and team. Was powerful hearing Josh’s point of view, and made me realise what a brave thing for him to do, but also how well he was able articulate his needs; and how simple/accessible it is for team to adapt to them.” - Liam, Riverside Store Manager 


With determination to accomplish his work goals and an enthusiasm to embrace opportunities, Josh is proving himself to be a valuable member of the Co-op team! 


We believe that all people should be treated as equals and valued as individuals. People should be valued for their strengths and skills, not left out because of their challenges or struggles. When everyone is valued, everyone benefits. It means a wider range of experiences and expertise that can contribute, influence and shape the world we live in so we may move toward a more fair and inclusive society. 

With Supported Employment, young people can be seen, be heard and belong in the workplace. The employers we work with have the vision to see the value in everyone - just like Co-op. In return, skilled, dependable and hardworking staff become assets to the organisation, with qualities that match the needs of the business. 


If you are a young person looking to make the journey from education into employment, click here.

If you are an employer looking for more information on Supported Internships for your business, click here.


For more Good News Stories about Supported Employment, click here.