Read on below to hear more about his career journey as a person with autism, his passion for photography and how he is flourishing at M&S.
My name is Ben, and I would like to share my story of the journey that I have been on working at M&S with a disability.
M&S has been massively helpful to me over the years. I joined the business in 2016 through the Princes Trust scheme and I am proud to say I am one of four colleagues from that group that are still here nearly 7 years later. I started my journey in SCS, picking product in the warehouse.
Due to my autism, it was a tough adjustment. I have trouble staying in one place and staying focused and this was my first “real” job. Before this I’d done a variety of different volunteer jobs. Most places don’t want to support colleagues with disabilities as it’s too much of a challenge. Back in 2016, I only managed to succeed with the help of the team of extremely supportive managers and colleagues, many of whom have gone on to be good friends.
After a year and a half at M&S I was offered a huge opportunity to follow a passion of mine to go to the University of Derby and study Sports Journalism. During this time, I followed my passion as a photographer and photographed the 2017 World Athletics Championships, The 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha. I’ve been extremely lucky to have done these things and it wouldn’t have been possible had M&S not taken a chance on me back in 2016.
After graduating, I returned back to M&S as an external candidate after applying for a job on the website. It was the first time I’ve ever been successful in an actual job interview and come through a company without a job programme and something I’m extremely proud of. Since then, I’ve been given some great opportunities including a Process Support Operator role working with a great team.
On my days off, I photograph Premier League and EFL level football at Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Derby County as well as Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday. I also like spending my time in London at a variety of different journalism and art talks.
Some people may see me wandering round the warehouse aimlessly and this can give the impression of me “being lazy”! I am not doing this on purpose, I find it tough to focus and often when I start to get tired, I struggle to stay in one place. I like the routine M&S gives me and the different things I get to do every day.
M&S Castle Donington has changed my life and I’ll always be thankful for that.
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