Business & Entrepreneurs

Cerebral palsy sufferer Tom, 23, lands full-time job at Altrincham supermarket – after 950 rejections in five years

By David Prior at

A 23-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer has landed a job at Asda’s Altrincham store – after 950 unsuccessful applications in the past five years.

Tom Stephens, a 23-year-old from Sale, had endured a fruitless search for employment before attending a youth training programme at the new store in Broadheath.

He attended the eight-week programme – involving three weeks of classroom-based learning and four weeks’ on-the-job experience – after being referred to employment agency Ingeus.

He has now become one of seven young workers to successfully complete the programme, and has received “fantastic” feedback from store colleagues.

“I never gave up, but all those rejections really knocked my confidence,” said Tom, whose full-time role involves him serving customers at the store’s busy checkouts.

Asda new recruit Tom Stephens (left) with colleagues Kane Stephenson and Sophie Rutherford, Ingeus's Natalie Burney and fellow new recruit John Moseley

Asda new recruit Tom Stephens (left) with colleagues Kane Stephenson and Sophie Rutherford, Ingeus’s Natalie Burney and fellow new recruit John Moseley

“The traineeship gave me a refresher in basic employment skills and practical experience of a work environment. I loved it and was over the moon to get a permanent job. I have belief in myself again and have made so many new friends.”

The store’s general manager, Tony Rutherford, said: “The colleagues that have joined us have shown great enthusiasm and willingness to learn and they have become a real asset to the store and to Asda as a whole.

“All of the young people we took on after their training period fully deserved the chance to come and work for us and they continue to impress with their attitude and work ethic on the shop floor.”

Tom with Asda colleague Sophie Rutherford and Ingeus's Natalie Burney

Tom with Asda colleague Sophie Rutherford and Ingeus’s Natalie Burney

The Altrincham traineeship is the first of 14 running at Asda stores across the UK. Ingeus recruits relevant young people not in education, employment or training to attend the programme and delivers all of the training.

The eight-week course covers functional English and Maths, a Level 1 Introduction to Employment in Retail and Level 1 Skills for Employment.

The Asda store in Broadheath

The Asda store in Broadheath