Budding scaffolder with Down’s Syndrome keeps making the impossible, possible

32-year-old Todd Scanlon, a budding scaffolder with Down’s Syndrome from Coles Scaffolding Contractors Limited, has been working towards his Construction Operatives’ Training (COTs) with the help of SIMIAN Risk Management Limited.

In 2018, Todd approached Martyn Coles, director of Swindon based Coles Scaffolding, to be given an opportunity to pursue his dream career as a scaffolder.

Coles Scaffolding, who are Assessed Members of the Scaffolding Association, have a company motto of ‘no stigma here’ which they strongly stand by and believe in, demonstrated when they took Todd on.  

After over a year of getting nowhere with traditional training routes, Martyn began communicating with Dave Randles CMIOSH, the Operations Director/Principal Consultant at leading UK training and consultancy company, SIMIAN, and together they formulated a plan to facilitate Todd’s training needs.

Todd is an extremely capable individual, however the conventional approach of classroom learning is not suitable for him. For instance, Todd can get nervous in groups, therefore it was decided a one-to-one approach would be beneficial, and SIMIAN allocated a trainer to Todd and Martyn for the day. 

Todd passed all the physical aspects of the COTs course, including Manual Handling and mastering the techniques required for Lifting Equipment Using a Rope and Wheel.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID pandemic, Todd was unable to attempt the touchscreen part of the course, this was due to the training centre being unable to facilitate a chaperone to help Todd with the computer elements of the training, but there are plans for Todd to attend a different centre in the future to enable him to complete his course.

SIMIAN created a temporary Scaffolders’ Assistant card for Todd to give him something tangible for his achievements while he waits to complete the full course when he will receive his Scaffold Labourer card.

“Todd has shown with grit and determination that what people think is impossible, is possible”

Martyn Coles: Director at Coles Scaffolding Contractors Ltd

And this is not Todd’s only achievement, in 2019 he won the On The Tools’ Apprentice of the Year award, with over 4,500 people voting for him to be crowned the worthy winner.

Martyn continued to praise Todd;

“Todd doesn’t let anyone stand in the way of his goals, he’s a true inspiration and a pleasure to work with.”

Dave commented that training with Todd has been a positive experience that he hopes may become a catalyst of change for the conventional methods used for construction training.

“Traditional approaches to training are not always suitable for everyone, and Todd was a great example of how considering individual needs can have the biggest impact.

Martyn and I had several conversations about what would be most effective for Todd, and we decided that a one-to-one instructor/learner approach would work best.

Todd was confident throughout the course and clearly demonstrated that he has all of the practical attributes to make a mark in the scaffolding industry, so naturally, we’re all delighted for both him and Martyn, who has worked tirelessly to get Todd some of the recognition he deserves.”

Dave Randles CMIOSH; SIMIAN, Operations Director/Principal Consultant

Martyn concluded;

“It means the world to Todd, he’s a hard worker and he deserves recognition for all the effort he puts in.

As a company we’re so proud and happy to be part of his journey.”

You can find out more about;

Coles Scaffolding Contractors Limited here and SIMIAN Risk Management Limited here

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