Southend-based component manufacturer Borough Limited has been praised for changing the life of Austen Merritt, who works in its modern injection moulding and chrome plating facility.
Since being recruited by the firm, Merritt – who also has velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS) – has gained a new found confidence and independence according to the 23-year-old’s support care worker, Sharon.
Sales director at Borough, David Brereton, commented: “From the moment we met Austen he had a real impact on all of us, his enthusiasm and spirit was inspiring and really quite humbling.
“Why should his learning disability stop him from getting the chances everybody else gets? He has made a real difference in the factory, his work is to the highest standard, and he’s supportive of others, friendly and motivated – a model employee.”
Brereton continued: “As part of the automotive supply chain, we are under tremendous pressure to hit targets, achieve quality standards and keep costs down. It’s easy to forget the difference a business like ours can make to the people who work within it and I urge more businesses to give people like Austen a chance to fulfil their potential.”
Austen was originally taken on at Borough for one-day-a-week but made such an impact he was quickly offered a full-time position, five-days-a-week. His main duties include packing components into specially designed transport containers, working with the injection moulding teams and helping keep the machines clean.
Sharon, who met Austen through her work with Social Services, said his role with Borough has made the world of difference to Austen and his family: “His job at Borough has been absolutely fantastic for his confidence, he now feels in control and has a great sense of independence.
Merritt is more than hopeful of a permanent contract with Borough once he has completed his six-month probation.
Sharon added: “I’d spoken to Borough about how hard it is for people with learning disabilities to get a job and the effort they have made with Austen is fantastic.”