Making strides with Mencap, RSA Ability’s charity partner

Introducing James Stone, our new colleague from Mencap’s supported Internship programme.

15 February 2023

James Stone, RSA's Mencap-supported intern

Mencap is the UK's leading charity for people with a learning disabilityThey work to create a world where people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and included. This chimes deeply with our own values.  

RSA have an ongoing relationship with Mencap. The charity has importantly informed our vulnerable customer support. They've also helped to improve the way in which we communicate with all customers, to be more inclusive and responsive to individual circumstances.

It was last year, 2023, that we formalised this relationship into a new partnership with our RSA Ability Employee Resource Group (ERG). The aim is to make greater progress in our support for those with seen and unseen disabilities to flourish in the workplace. 

One of the key achievements born from this partnership is a 9-month work placement as part of Mencap’s Supported Internship programme.

We were delighted to welcome James Stone through the doors at our London office last November to join our total talent team. James has been settling into his role, building his knowledge and developing skills with KITE, early careers and CII administration. 

We’d like to offer James a tremendously warm welcome, and thanks to all those involved in establishing Mencap work placements at RSA. We hope James is the first of many. 

Clare Connor, RSA's Talent Lead said: 

 “Working alongside James is an absolute pleasure. It's a real joy for me to see him go from strength to strength in terms of confidence and ability. I’m immensely proud of him and the targets he smashes every week on a personal and professional level.

"James brightens my week; I especially enjoy his humour and the little jokes he likes to share and play on me. Although it’s a small step, I feel this initial placement is a huge stride for our business as we continue to build resilient communities and break down those employment barriers to provide an inclusive working environment. 

"Collaborating with Mencap has been inspiring, their support to James and I has been fantastic. I hope to see more placements and permanent roles offered through our partnership across the business this year.”

We asked James about his experience so far:

What do you enjoy about the work you do at RSA?

"My tasks have been very interesting and enjoyable so far. I enjoy learning information from Horizon about what to do in the workplace and how to do things effectively. I am also enjoying editing pages in KITE and using spreadsheets to analyse lots of data."

What do you like about the office at 22 Bishopsgate?

"The building is tall, and the office is clean and tidy. The interior looks sophisticated, elegant, and beautiful. The lights in the office look very exquisite. I like the view of London from some of the windows."

Have you played any tricks on Clare?

"I like to play little tricks and jokes to make Clare laugh... When I completed my training modules, I told Clare: “I have some bad news for you”. Then, there was a dramatic pause and I said “I have finished all my training modules”. It was funny to see her reaction as it was good news instead of bad. I do things like this most days I’m at RSA."

What else have we been up to?

Learning disabilities were the focus for Karl Helgesen, RSA's Chief Operating Officer, and his Leadership team last year. They volunteered at Walton Leigh School in Hersham, which is a school for young people with severe and complex learning difficulties. The team had a fantastic day working in the school grounds helping with gardening, painting and meeting some of the children in their Halloween costumes.

We also hosted a successful lunch and learn with Mencap during ‘Learning Disability Week’ last year. RSA Ability and Families ERGs teamed up to bring us an informative session. Mencap shared their support for people with learning disabilities, helped us to understand what it's like to have a learning disability, introduced their campaigns and how RSA could get involved and support in the future.

In further good news, Paul Grigg, RSA's Customer and Operational Risk Director, has been elected to the Board of Trustees for Mencap Trust. This leverages his skills developed at RSA around Risk, Operations and Transformation to the benefit of the charity.  

I am delighted to see how this partnership between Mencap and RSA is beneficial to both our organisations. We’ve been able to offer placement opportunities for their employment scheme, and in return had advice and support around our vulnerable customer's programme.  This is just the start of the journey and I’m excited to see what further opportunities this will bring to both organisations throughout 2024.
Paul Grigg - Mencap sponsor and Trustee
RSA Insurance have been a pleasure to work with. From the moment we commenced conversations about the possibility of a work experience placement for one of our supported Interns, they have dedicated time and resource to create the best possible experience. James has settled in incredibly well and the team have supported him to develop. His confidence and skills have grown from week to week. We hope the experience will enable James to progress into paid work at the end of the programme and we look forward to further developing our partnership with RSA in the future.
Mark Capper - Mencap’s Head of Development