After struggling through school and spending six years looking for work Adam Pinder – who has learning disabilities – was worried he’d never be able to find a job.
But with help from Mencap Adam, who's 26, secured an interview at our Living store in Hull, got the job, and now he’s going from strength to strength – proving really popular with customers and colleagues and even helping found a group that advises employers how to open up more opportunities for people with disabilities.
His mum Sue said: "In the past, it seems employers have backed away from hiring Adam because they didn't understand his problems. It was a bit disheartening, but Mencap were really supportive, Asda have been great and Adam's a lot happier."
Adam, who has attention deficit disorder (ADD), Asperger's and mild dyspraxia, joined the store last August, working part time. Sue says his learning disabilities mean he can read and spell, but struggles with writing.
"I'm really enjoying working at Asda," said Adam. "It's very good. My favourite thing about the job is interacting with people and I get on well with customers and colleagues.
"The colleagues are always available for me to go to if I need help, and I've made friends too."
The store's replenishment section manager Julia Ragbetli interviewed Adam for his job. She said: "He's a great colleague. Colleagues and customers love him. He loves his job and is so enthusiastic.
"I recruited Adam and he really stood out during his interview; he's a great communicator."
Mencap Humber supported Adam for the last seven years – providing advice while he was looking for work, helping him get an interview, and continuing to keep a close eye on how he's getting on.
Emma Hoe, employment coordinator for Mencap Humber, said: "Adam was ecstatic to have finally secured his first job, and he's really liked having the flexibility of part time hours.
"Getting this job has meant huge benefits to his well-being; his confidence has risen and he's much happier.
"His friends and family have commented that it has been amazing to see such a positive difference in Adam, who they always knew would be great in a retail role. Work has given him a real sense of purpose and pride.
"Adam's found his colleagues at the store to be totally supportive with fantastic support throughout. He's enjoying his job more and more every shift."
Emma says Adam's ADD means he prefers varied tasks and roles.
She said: "He likes to be on his feet doing different things rather than spending all his shift on a checkout. His dyspraxia means his eye to mind coordination is a little bit delayed. For example, if there's a hazard in front of him it means it will take him a little bit longer to recognise the hazard.
"Asda have been really accommodating by giving him various tasks to do in the store on each shift."
Adam's also a founder member of People's Awareness of Disability and Difference, a group which aims to help young people who are struggling to find career opportunities. This was formed in 2015 and is part of the Big Lottery-funded project Talent Match Humber.
Adam and the group regularly meet to share their experiences, and he recently took part in a study alongside Sheffield Hallam University to research the effectiveness of supported employment.
The store was also nominated for the Large Employer Award at the This Ability Employer Awards in Hull, which recognises and celebrates local businesses who are creating a more diverse workforce by embracing and promoting ability in the workplace. Adam met The Last Leg host Alex Brooker at at the awards.
Emma said: "We nominated Asda for the award to recognise the adjustments the colleagues at the store have made and how accommodating they've been to Adam."