Papworth Trust received funding from the Warwick and Dominey Fund to run their ‘Routeway to Work’ project, providing 30 young people and adults aged 16+, who have mild to moderate learning disabilities, disabilities and those with a long-term health condition, with tailored practical work experience within Papworth Trust’s OWL Bikes Shop and Workshop. Participants were supported to experience and carry out different roles, which supported them in learning vital skills to help realise their employment aspirations.

A person in a blue jumper answering a phone at a desk.

The Routeway to Work’s impact

Routeways to Work provided participants with specialist support and training that they would have otherwise been without. This support has provided beneficiaries with invaluable experience as they navigate their way into potential work. Beneficiaries have also developed new skills required to find sustainable employment, such as job searching, writing job applications and how to clearly answer interview questions.

Customers from the OWL Bikes community have contributed to the learning and development of beneficiaries, by providing authentic work experience within the shop environment. This has not only benefitted beneficiaries, but it has also increased the community’s awareness of people with a variety of disabilities and what they can achieve.

Some beneficiaries of Routeway to Work have gone on to successfully gain paid employment, whilst others are actively job searching, having developed sufficient confidence to start a job search.

I came to routeways because I felt ready to work but still needed support. Its on my bus route. I was but quite when I started but everyone was patient with me and let me settle in my own time. I had help working on my CV and some courses. I liked working in the bike shop, I liked the stock room and I liked ordering. I liked there was lots of different things to do, to give me experience. I am now more confident and can ask questions and I can ask for help. Routeways found me some paid work experience I wouldn’t have heard about that if I not go to routeways. I have applied to volunteer at the library because I feel more confident now. I know that all the people at routeways and in the bike shop made me feel better about myself and supported me all the time

Feedback from a Routeway to Work participant, written in his own words