BARNSLEY’S biggest employer celebrated their partnership with an organisation which supported them to employ four people with Down’s syndrome – and has encouraged more businesses to join the programme.

To mark World Down’s Syndrome Day on Monday, fashion giant ASOS’s main warehouse, run in partnership with GXO on Park Spring Road near Little Houghton, held an awareness and fundraising event and welcomed a visit from WorkFit – an employment programme by the Down’s Syndrome Association.

The site has employed four staff through the scheme – Barney, Luke, Sam and Jordan, who are supported by ‘buddies’ in their roles.

Becki Bateson, WorkFit employment development officer from the Down’s Syndrome Association, visited the four at work on Monday – who have been in post now for a number of months.

Luke, 25, works as a catering assistant in the site restaurant and has been supported by Becki since he started there in August 2019.

“Luke has a lot of support around him in his role, but he’s also become very independent now and is even learning to use knives in the kitchen,” she said.

“I’m so proud of how far he’s come and this is just a great thing for everyone involved – everyone benefits.

“The programme also offers lifetime support for the duration of the job – so the support will never go away and we will continue helping them to reach their potential.”

Tom Byrne, head of corporate responsibility at ASOS, added: “We believe that driving diversity, equity and inclusion across every aspect of ASOS is fundamental to ensuring we achieve amazing things as a business.

“The GXO WorkFit partnership at ASOS Barnsley is a fantastic example of how everyone can find opportunities to grow and succeed in the workplace and become valuable members of the team.

“We encourage other companies to explore partnerships like this and discover the benefits of hiring diverse talent into their workforces.”