Lala's story: employing Steps graduates"I think it's really something that everybody should do. Because I feel it has helped the team to focus on what people can do instead of what people cannot do."
Read Lala’s story
Griselda Gras (Lala) runs El Mercado, a European style market, restaurant and grocery in Bangkok. El Mercado has been working with Steps for a number of years and now employs five Steps graduates. Lala describes how employing Steps graduates has transformed the workplace in the video above, or you can read about it below.
I think it’s our responsibility to make this place a nicer place to live in and to integrate the full range of people who live in it so we can all enjoy a better life. Since we opened El Mercado I was really interested in integrating kids with learning differences. So… Max came one day with the trainees, I think we started with five trainees. They came here, they introduced themselves, where they wanted to go, what
they liked to do. What were their difficulties, what were their strong points. That was the first step.
“They feel more comfortable because they already have a routine here.”
We showed them around the workplace, they told us I would like to work in bakery, in the office, in the groceries. And then, next step they came on training with one of the teachers at Steps, to help us with the process of how to explain to them. For example the kitchen is a rough environment, it is not like people is very sweet and you can like that right! So we had a teacher come over and telling us how to do it. It was really easy.
I would say they know the environment better. They know the people they work with better. They feel more comfortable because they already have a routine here, they know what they need to do when they arrive, when they leave, who are the people they are interacting to. So I think they just feel, yeah.
“I like that my team focus on what they can do. And they share it with me.”
I remember one day one of the kids came to me and he showed me his bank online application and he told me hey you have not paid me today! And I told him, no I am not paying you every day I pay you at the end of the month! He was like, “Ah really at the end of the month! I thought you would pay me every day!” I said no, but if you need, we can negotiate. Everybody gets it at the end of the month. He told me ok, if everybody gets it at the end of the month, it can wait.
When I go to the areas where they are working I can see that people working with them, when I arrive to that place, they would rather tell me “Wow look, he’s doing that super well, he’s learned a lot, he’s doing great”. So I like that my team focus on what they can do. And they share it with me. And I also feel that it has made my team more happy to come to work, because there’s a person there which they feel they are helping too. It’s nice.
“It has created the strongest team.”
I think it’s really something that everybody should do. Because I feel it has helped the team to focus on what people can do instead of what people cannot do. It make them feel good to help them going through their problem with the working process. So it’s kind of team building. It has created the strongest team.
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Read the stories
Kim graduated from the Steps vocational centre and started work in the El Mercado bakery.
Nicky started work in the office at El Mercado after completing vocational training at Steps.
Rajat is a Steps graduate working in one of El Mercado’s groceries.