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Our work with The Play Doctors

Industry:  Education
Employer:  Wendy Usher, Director and Author

Case Study Employer The Play Doctors

The Play Doctors is an award-winning organisation based in Newport Pagnell which works to support children and young people on the autism spectrum including those with social communication difficulties or other ‘hidden’ disabilities. The Play Doctors produces visual aids and creative resources and also runs training courses and accredited Distance Learning training programmes.

Director Wendy Usher was keen to expand the reach of the organisation’s resources and support work and, at the same time, wanted to offer employment opportunities to local young people with autism.  Wendy said: “We had already worked with Autism Bedfordshire to take on some young people for work experience and we were particularly impressed with George and Jamie.”  Wendy looked into Apprenticeships and contacted Bedford College adding: “The aim was not just to have skilled workers for the organisation, but to also increase the self-confidence, self-awareness and support the apprentices as they go forward in life.”

Wendy created the new roles of Production and Distribution Apprentices to help support the organisation’s expansion by focusing on the warehousing and distribution side of the business. During their Apprenticeship George and Jamie also had opportunities to help at trade fairs such as The Autism Show and the Times Educational Supplement SEN Show.

Wendy said:  The apprentices and have been very much part of the family business.  In fact we’re delighted that George is going to stay on with us to complete his Level 3 qualification.  We’re also delighted that the Apprenticeship opportunities we’ve provided were externally recognised when we won two 2015 Federation of Small Businesses Bedfordshire Awards for Training and Development and Enterprising Business. I’d definitely say to other employers don’t be scared to employ people with learning difficulties.  Like many things in business, it just takes some planning, creativity and flexibility.”