Service host Lauren Elliott from our Bangor store used her personal experience to improve awareness of how to support autistic people during the recruitment process.
Lauren, pictured on the right, who has worked at the store since 2007, has three autistic sons. She's been commended after advising her colleagues on the store’s recruitment procedures and seeking feedback on how we could do better.
She set up a video conference call with local charity Orchardville and invited young adults with autism and their parents to discuss their rights and what they can request in the way of reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process.
As part of her work during Autism Awareness Month in April, Lauren arranged work placements in her store with the young adults as well as interview practice sessions with the HR team. The sessions will aid applicants' understanding of the retail sector and develop their skills for future employment.
Lauren said: "I have three boys who are all autistic – they were my motivation to highlight the interviewing process for people with autism. I wanted to make it appear less scary and intimidating for anyone who wants to apply. We want to build confidence in people when they are applying for roles in Asda that they would have never considered before.
“I reached out to some local groups and charities to give them some information on the application process, to remove a lot of unknowns for those with disabilities. We discussed how adjustments can be made for these individuals to make the recruitment process fair.
“I am very proud to work for such a fantastic store. My colleagues are very supportive, engaging and always make you feel so welcome. I am proud to say we have been able to adapt some of the recruitment processes when applying for jobs at Asda and it has massively improved the diversity in our store."
The store's now working with Orchardville over the longer-term partnership which will see a total of 12 adults from Orchardville’s Ignite2 project take part in work experience and undertake mock interviews.
Asda Bangor store manager Ciara Smith thanked Lauren for her help and input.
She said: "Lauren is a very valued member of the Asda Bangor team. She is very involved throughout the store and does a lot of additional work behind the scenes. We love her positive attitude – she is a great asset. This act shows her caring nature towards all of our colleagues."