Community: David Lewis Charity


Our Recruitment Co-ordinator takes a break from her day job

Swapping recruitment for life on the farm has been a big change for John Lewis Recruitment Co-ordinator Jill Gibbons, who has just completed a 6 month Golden Jubilee Secondment with David Lewis. Based in Macclesfield, the charity provides education, therapy, support and life skill development to individuals with epilepsy, autism and complex learning disabilities.

"We're always on the go in recruitment whereas on the farm it's a completely different time frame because you're going at a pace that supports the students." said Jill

Jill has split her time equally between the Land Based Skills Centre - home to donkeys, goats, snakes, reptiles and rabbits - and the charity's retail unit where she has helped to develop students' customer service skills. "I really admire the people that work here, they are so good with the students. It's been really rewarding learning how to interact with the students effectively. They're not looking for your sympathy, it's about empathy. Learning things we take for granted like how to send an email and answering the telephone appropriately really help to make a difference for the students," adds Jill. During the placement Jill has also helped students learn how to fill in application forms and has conducted practice interviews to help students gain confidence in applying for jobs.

The Golden Jubilee Trust is a fully funded award scheme that allows John Lewis Partners to spend work time at a charity in the UK.

David Lewis manager Darren Brodrick said: "Your organisation has been awesome, we couldn't have asked for anymore. You've given us so much without asking for anything in return. From day one Jill has been brilliant in embracing the experience and she hasn't shied away from anything. The experience Jill has brought to the Work Shop has been integral to its success."