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Melissa loves her day helping at Asda Isle of Wight

September 06, 2019 10:07 AM

Thirteen-year-old Melissa Taylor-Grounsell loves our Isle of Wight store so much that she says she'd like to work on the pizza counter when she's older – so she had a whale of a time when colleagues arranged for her to join the team for a day.

Her mum Sarah has worked on the checkouts at the store since it opened, and says Melissa, who has ADHD and dyspraxia, talks about Asda all the time.

Sarah asked the store's community champion Clare Jones if Melissa could try her hand on the pizza counter and, of course, she obliged ... even finding her a uniform with her own name badge.

Clare said: "She was very good and listened to Sam our counters colleague who guided her through the process. I then took her to sit on a till just like Mum does and she had a go herself.

"Melissa thoroughly enjoyed her time and said the best bit was actually working on the tills. You never know in a few years time you may well see Melissa as one of our newest colleagues in and around store."

Sarah, who's 39, said: "Clare was absolutely brilliant and Melissa had such a good time. She made a ham, bacon, pepperoni and pineapple pizza which she had later.

"She loves pizzas and loves baking too. She had a go on the checkouts too and loved the scanners, so hopefully she will get a job alongside me when she is older."

Melissa is a pupil at St George's Special School in Newport, and her school report included a comment on her desire to work at Asda.

The report read: "In our World of Work programme, Melissa discussed her ambitions for the future and researched her skills she will need to achieve them.

"She has expressed a desire to work in Asda possibly on the pizza counter. Melissa has a positive outlook on lifelong learning which she understands will enable her to have choices and these will give her the opportunity to fulfil her aspirations. I look forward to visiting Asda in the future where I hope to see Melissa carrying out her ambition."

Melissa recently attended a careers talk at school by Asda colleague Fleur Foster who has autism and has gone from strength to strength after she started working at the store. Fleur told pupils at her former school that disability should be no barrier when it came to getting a job.

Store manager Kenny Farrell said: "Part of Clare's role as community champion is working with local schools educating children on healthy eating, active lifestyle and about opportunities in Asda. It is fantastic to turn this around and for Clare to work with Melissa in store and help her to experience a day in the life of a colleague for real.

"There's a lot of satisfaction for Clare seeing the work she does in the community coming into fruition, especially when we get engaged with young people such as Melissa and see the fun and excitement this is for them."