a picture of a crafts session

About the Project

First Steps to Success (FSTS) is a bespoke employment project designed to empower adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities and/ or autism.  We operate this programme in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.
We see employment as being an important factor when supporting disabled people to have equality, choice and independence.  The project focuses on working alongside participants to help them realise their aspirations and supports them to develop the skills and knowledge to become work ready and enter employment. 
Two part time Employment Advisors will each support around 25 adults at a time across a geographical area. FSTS offers support that has been specifically designed to the needs of adults with learning disabilities in order to support them to gain the skills to become work ready and enter employment.  It does this by:
Facilitating employment workshops – training workshops focused on initiating a change in mind set for participants, families, friends and / or carer regarding employment.  The majority of adults with learning disabilities we come into contact with have never seen employment as an option for them.  This workshop aims to change that mind set.  Participants who show a desire to develop their employment skills will be referred to the project.
Assessing and understanding participants goals – building trust and getting to know the participant, their needs, their likes, and identified barriers? Here the Advisor works closely with the participants to agree small achievable goals.
Short, intensive 1:1 support – the support focuses on taking the steps to meet the identified goals.  Support focuses on the practical skills required to become work ready.  For example; interview practice, CV writing, personal hygiene, work placements, basic skills courses, money management.  These skills are invaluable when looking at work readiness and employment.
Review – carried out on average between 6 weeks to 3 months depending on participants needs.  Reviews are carried out to ensure participants are on track or whether support should be altered.
Working with employers – helping employers understand the work place adaptations that could be made and opportunities employers could offer like work placements, volunteering and employment. Support employer and employee once employment is achieved, assisting the transition into work and preventing negative experiences

The Difference

When it comes to employment outcomes, FSTS makes a real difference to the participants who access it:

  • Increased access to employment opportunities
  • Increased work readiness skills
  • Increased volunteering opportunities
  • Increased basic skills
  • Increased confidence and self esteem
  • Increased independence
  • Increased health and wellbeing