In March 2022, Harry began his bemix Supported Internship journey with Azets. Azets is an accountancy business with both national and international offices, and an international client base. It is the UK’s largest regional accounting firm and specialist business advisor to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Harry works at Azet’s Ashford office in Kent. 

bemix Supported Internship programme is a one-year programme which helps young people with learning difficulties and/or autism make the journey from education to employment. bemix supports people to build confidence and grow skills, with a job that meets their goals and aspirations.

For businesses, this means a free job-matching service to help them recruit and retain people with learning difficulties and/or autism. Employers can access a largely untapped local workforce of loyal, dedicated and reliable employees.

Harry’s Supported Internship

Initially, Harry began his placement by working 2 days per week. He built up to 3 longer days, as he became more settled and confident. Harry’s role at Azets consisted of office administration tasks. As a self proclaimed "computer geek", with exceptional organisational skills, Harry was in his element digitally organising company files. 

Harry also found an enthusiasm for being on the main reception desk. Harry enjoys working with Emma who is the receptionist and enjoys greeting clients and offering them drinks. Harry is polite and has traditional values when it comes to social interactions. This gave him a great start with settling in and demonstrating his customer service skills. 

“Harry is an excellent member of the admin team here at Azets, he has settled in so well. He is always willing to help everyone and is such a polite young man.” - Emma, receptionist at Azets.

In terms of a working environment, Harry and his work coach were very pleased with their work location. The office is on the 5th floor of a fairly new building and there are extensive views across Ashford. As a keen photographer, Harry also likes photography and talked about bringing his camera to work so that he could take photographs of the landscape surrounding the building (in his lunch break, of course!). Everything that a person could need is available and there is a regular supply of cakes and doughnuts - which is always a bonus!

During his placement, Harry said: “It feels good to be working two days per week and is nice to have something to work towards and prove my worth to something. And to be part of a team is great as I get to be sociable and work at the same time. It is a nice number of hours although I would like to work more, we are building up to the possibility of doing 9-5. And it’s a nice introduction for serious working life. With this work placement my ultimate goal is to end up in paid employment and to be part of a workforce. I would be very happy if Azets would offer me that if this supported internship works out well. It would be a very big personal achievement.” 

Like many employers that bemix is proud to partner with, Azets has the vision to see the value in everyone. This was demonstrated by their actions in helping Harry progress onto the next stage of his education to employment journey.

From Supported Employment to paid employment

Harry was in placement up until the end of July 2022 and was offered paid work, starting in September. Harry’s remarkable progression meant that Azets were keen to offer a role that was based on his strengths, whilst also matching their business needs.

Before paid work began, Harry was offered the opportunity to take the month of August off of work. However, Harry chose to continue to work throughout August, and no longer with his Work Coach. A fantastic example of a dedicated and reliable intern, ready to make the move to ‘employee’.

Azets Partner Hayley Kingsnorth, said: “Harry made such a great impression during his internship that we leapt at the opportunity to offer him a permanent position. He is brilliant with technology and numbers, conscientious and is an absolute delight in the office where his enthusiasm is contagious. He fits in with everyone and has become a tremendous asset to the team.”

Harry said: “The role is pretty much an office junior role and is very admin based. Which is good with me as I get to use my IT skills. I also help the reception team with some of their jobs. This includes handling post and helping with their digitisation process and a plethora of other tasks. 

I am based in an office building at the top floor in Ashford near the international station. The environment is very welcoming and open. There are plenty of sociable people around me. The people who I work with are Emma and Gemma, who are welcoming and very understanding of my condition. Hayley who you could consider as my line manager is kind and helpful. As is everyone around the office. 

The company is indirectly good at autism awareness as the office setting is friendly to Neurodivergent people because everyone has their places and it is easy to know where everything is because of that. And it’s not overwhelming as everyone is spaced out nicely. 

The setting has a lovely view as there is a 360-degree option of views below a shot of the international station and the outlet looking onto south Ashford with a Eurostar Racing into the country towards London.”

Click the image above to hear all about Harry's journey with Azets

Harry has proved himself to be a committed, enthusiastic and skilled employee with much to offer an organisation, like Azets. Azets have demonstrated that they have the vision to see the value in everyone and in return, they have employed a young person who can make a meaningful contribution to their business and fulfil an unmet business need.

With careful job matching from the bemix Supported Employment team, and the support of his forward-thinking employers, Harry is now flourishing and on the first step of his accounting career.

Click the image above to hear from Hayley, partner at Azets

At bemix, we are proud to work with organisations who see that it is possible to organise a workplace so that everyone can be fully in the mix and not excluded. A good society needs and values our contribution - we should be seen, be heard and belong - including within workplaces. At bemix we believe that all people should be treated as equals and valued as individuals - our core EPIC values outline this.

For more information about how your organisation can get involved in Supported Internships, click here.

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