National Inclusion Week Spotlight Day #2 – Harry Specters
Summary: National Inclusion Week is an annual opportunity to raise awareness of Inclusion and Diversity in the workplace by Inclusive Employers. This year we want to spotlight businesses that have made accessibility and disability inclusion a priority, which we hope will encourage other organisations to embed inclusion in their policies and strategies because when the workplace is accessible – everyone wins!
Today’s disability inclusion spotlight: Harry Specters – Luxury Chocolate company
Today we are celebrating their: Their social cause
Why it’s great: Mona Shah, the Founder and Managing Director of Harry Specters, is a chocolatier with a passion for creating positive social change for people like her son Ash, who has autism. She was inspired to combine these two interests while visiting a chocolate shop during a holiday Scotland in 2011. She noticed how making chocolate was: “quite routine, repetitive, structured work.” She realised it would be perfect work for people with autism, as many autistic people tend to enjoy this type of work but struggle to find employment.
Ash came up with the company’s name and a year later, Harry Specters was born. Since then, they have:
· Hired autistic people to make, package and sell chocolates for their online and corporate customers. Some of these employees were also involved in back office, design and photography work for Harry Specters. The company also helped them learn new skills, which would increase their opportunities at work.
· Given their employees confidence and financial independence. One full-time employee’s mum said:
"My son has got his confidence back now since working at Harry's. It was really hard to see him get rejected after each job interview after leaving college. He got top grades too. Harry's gave him a chance and he fitted in to the workplace and made new friends. He now has a new sense of self-worth and believes in himself again. I am very proud!"
· Measured the social and economic impact their business has had on people with autism, their families and society as a whole. For example in 2018 they saved the government £18,192 and gave families £83,163 worth of respite hours while their employees were at work. You can read Harry Specters’ annual social impact reports spanning back to 2013/14 here.
For more information about Harry Specters, visit their website at www.harryschocs.co.uk