COVID-19 – Doing Things Differently – Employment Services – Sam Taynton

Employability Services Delivering Provision Differently during COVID -19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Employability Services suspended all participants’ voluntary placements. This led to the service having to re-evaluate their usual face to face placement support provision and encompass new systems of engagement with participants, including the use of Zoom.

Participant Sam Taynton, who has Autism and learning disabilities, had his voluntary placement at Morrison’s Supermarket suspended and now receives weekly Virtual Placement Support Training via Zoom.

Sam finds it difficult with social interaction and communication due to his Autism, however by making the training sessions person-centred and delivered in a format that meets Sam’s communication and learning needs, he is able to interact within the session in a way that makes him feel comfortable and happy to contribute.

Norma Yarborough, Supported Employment Team Leader, said: “Through creating and delivering bespoke short Virtual Placement Support Training packages, covering topics including; Returning to Placement post COVID-19, Customer Care, Health and Safety in the Workplace, participants are able to refresh their knowledge and understanding of their usual structured workplace routines, in readiness for their return to placement post COVID-19.”

Sam’s mum Lizzy sent a letter of thanks to Employability Services, stating: “Sam is really enjoying his weekly Zoom chats with Norma and we feel it will help him return to Morrison’s with greater ease when the time comes. Norma is helping him to remember everything that he had learned, through her support. It’s great to see Sam managing to communicate a little longer each week via zoom.”

Lizzy added: “The Zoom chats also help with Sam’s confidence to use video chats with his siblings, enabling him to see them each week and engage with them for longer than he used to be able to cope with. Norma is great at communicating with Sam and we really appreciate the weekly meetings. They are helping Sam in so many ways and he really looks forward to them whilst he remains at home. Thank you for your help and support.”

For more information about Employment Services or to contact the team please visit our website at


Sam Taynton
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