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60 Stories - Graham Kirkpatrick

Photo of Graham KilpatrickGraham Kirkpatrick
 
From football stadium grounds man, to supermarket worker and catering assistant…. 20-year-old Graham Kirkpatrick has checked out several employment opportunities since taking part in ENABLE Scotland project, Stepping-Up.
 
As a pupil at Grange Academy in Kilmarnock, Graham – who is a member of Scotland’s leading charity for people who have a learning disability – became involved in the project which raises awareness about the world of work.
 
The pioneering project has succeeded in boosting Graham’s confidence and has helped him to learn new skills.
 
He said: “I enjoyed talking about jobs and learning lots of new things.  It helped me understand which jobs were out there and know more about team work. I would meet up with Ross from the project in school, and he helped me with my work placements.”
 
Although Graham was quiet at the beginning of the project, he soon came out of his shell and once his preferences became clear, the Stepping-Up team set about finding him suitable work placements.
 
Football fan Graham took up a placement at Kilmarnock FC, where he worked as a grounds man.  He thoroughly enjoyed his time there, and liked being able to get out in the fresh air and do more practical work.
 
"I looked after the stadium and the pitch and liked raking the gravel around the pitch because that's where the players would run out of the tunnel.  I learned more practical skills than I did at school," said Graham.
 
He then went on to complete a very successful six-week work placement at his local Co-op supermarket. He stacked shelves and advised customers. Graham’s work was so impressive that, on completion of the placement, the Co-op offered him a 12-week paid contract.
 
"I liked having a laugh with the staff and enjoyed working with them,” said Graham.
 
After his contract expired with the store, the Stepping-Up team helped Graham apply for a job at a care home.  They helped him prepare for the interview and rehearse responses to questions which may arise.  His previous work experience at Kilmarnock Football Club and the Co-op and the independent travel training which Graham had received from the project, helped lead him to a rewarding job. He now works 20 hours a week as a catering assistant at Dundonald Care home.
 
"I do the dishes and prepare ingredients for the meals.  I take the meals to the residents and then collect them.  I like working with everyone and being part of a team. ENABLE helped me prepare for working in a busy place and boost my confidence," he enthused.
 
Graham is a valued member of staff at Dundonald Care home and he continues to work hard and enjoy his job there.
 
When he's not working, Graham enjoys supporting his team, Kilmarnock FC, and is also a coach with ‘Young Killie’ on Saturday mornings.  Graham also volunteers at the TAPE Services for visually impaired people every Friday, and is a Warrant Officer for the Boy's Brigade.
 
Taking part in the Stepping-Up project eased the transition from school to employment for Graham, who values the new skills he has learned.
 
Committed to continuing his work at the care home and learning how to drive, an inspired Graham now has real ambitions for the future.

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