CASE STUDY – Luke – Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

Luke is a former student, who left The Castle School in 2018. He has moderate learning difficulties and ASD, and some problems with his speech. Due to this he lacked confidence meeting new people, and was very conscious of being misunderstood.

Luke was extremely motivated to gain employment, and was willing to push himself to achieve this. He wanted to work, to feel part of a team and to make his family proud.

Luke participated in the school’s “World of Work” programme, and initially attended a placement at Tesco Metro, where he did very well and formed good working relationships with colleagues. He demonstrated some excellent skills such as reliability, good time keeping and a great attitude. Following this he wished to gain further experience and we looked for a placement that would continue to grow his customer service skills, as well as offering a real opportunity for ongoing employment.

Luke started work experience at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa. He was able to try out several different departments, and eventually identified his dream job – to be a waiter in the hotel restaurant. Luke progressed through the different stages of our “three stage model”, starting with the initial work experience, developing into a longer-term, more intensive work placement and finishing with a supported internship, where the workplace and the potential to gain paid employment were the key focus of his week.

Luke’s work ethic and commitment were evident throughout each stage. The management were so impressed with his dedication, reliability and endless enthusiasm that they offered him a paid “job-carved” role in breakfast and lunch service in the restaurant.

During the Covid-19 pandemic Luke was put on furlough, and since returning to work has continued as one their most valued employees. Interaction with Luke has also driven the hotel’s wider agenda in understanding Autism and having a more inclusive workforce.

Luke is a very well-liked and respected staff member and has recently been promoted to Head Waiter.

Luke’s achievements were recently recognised by BASE (British Association for Supported Employment), when he was awarded a certificate of commendation in their annual awards event.