A work placement at Vision Products all those years ago has led to a full-time job for Simon Bould - and a special award to go alongside his Olympic gold medals.
The 27-year-old from Porth has been on a life-changing journey since leaving Ysgol Hen Felin to start work as an apprentice with the Council’s award-winning Vision Products, which recently celebrated 25 years of business.
Run as a supported business as part of RCT Council, Vision Products provides meaningful employment and development opportunities for people with disabilities within the locality.
Simon Bould has worked at Vision Products for over 10 years. During this time, through personal perseverance, enthusiasm and commitment, he has transformed from an individual that struggled with his communication skills to one that is now able to work independently, producing high quality work.
Initially, Simon began working within the refurbishment section at Vision Products, undertaking a range of different functions from the refurbishment of a range of community equipment to assisting with the decontamination of the products within the washroom area.
Having demonstrated throughout this time that he had a range of skills and abilities which could be developed further, Simon is now involved in all aspects of the complex equipment service and has recently been appointed to a specialist role as a Complex Equipment Technician - he is the only person who holds this role within the business.
His confidence has also grown to such an extent that he has mentored other young people and has another member of staff working in his team, to whom he provides direction and support.
To have developed within this role and become an ‘expert’ within this area of service is truly remarkable. He has shown that whilst he does have a learning difficulty, with the right support and work place adjustments he has been able to learn very technical information and practically apply it within a work situation.
There is no other community equipment service employee within Wales who has the skills set that Simon does to undertake this service, showing that he is a truly incredible individual.
As a result of all his hard work and determination, Simon Bould has been awarded the David Grainger Employee Award at the annual UK-wide British Association for Supported Employment Awards, held in Milton Keynes.
These awards recognise and celebrate outstanding practice in the field of supported employment in the UK and focus on promoting the remarkable work that goes on across the country to help people with disabilities, and other disadvantages, get the support to achieve their work aspirations and retain paid employment.
The award was presented to Simon on the grounds of outstanding commitment to the business and making a difference both in his place of work and within the local community.
Everyone who has the pleasure of meeting Simon has admiration for what he has achieved during his time working at Vision Products and he is well liked by his colleagues and peers alike.
He is now a confident young man and is highly involved in meeting clients, families and professionals and providing advice for therapists.
Outside of the workplace, Simon has also made his mark in the world of sport.
He is passionate about bowls and in 2017 Simon competed in the Great British Special Olympics which was held in Sheffield. He performed outstandingly and won not one, but TWO gold medals in the men's pairs and triples bowls.
Councillor Geraint Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Adult Community Services and Welsh Language, said: “We are all so proud of Simon’s employment and sporting achievements and we are delighted that he has been recognised with the prestigious David Grainger Award.
“His journey has not always been easy, but Simon has become a key member of the Vision Products specialist children’s equipment team, a service, recognised by Welsh Government as a Service of Excellence.
“Vision Products has an amazing workforce, so passionate about their jobs and manufacturing first-class products. Their headquarters is always a hive of activity, and no visitor can ever escape the warmth of the welcome afforded to them.
“Simon initially received a wide range of in-house training at Vision Products, which he embraced and has led to his award-winning career development.
“He has transformed from an individual who had little confidence to one who has excelled at his job and is a shining example of an excellent employee and what can be achieved with the right support and training.”
It is needless to say that Simon is a remarkable individual who has surpassed all levels of expectation both in his personal and professional life, and he continues to develop and grow on his incredible journey.
Posted on Monday 1st April 2019