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Meet Barnitts’ memory man Alex Wilkinson
A YORK teenager has become “the voice of Barnitts” after developing a memorable talent.
Alex Wilkinson, 18, spends two days a week in the York department store, in Colliergate, on a voluntary work placement basis.
Over his three years with the business Alex, who is autistic, has used his incredible memory skills to learn all the television adverts shown on small screens across the garden department, where he works.
After just one viewing, Alex can recite word for word advertising promotions, bringing them to life for customers in the shop.
Gardens manager Geoff Ely said: “Alex started with us three years ago on a work placement from Archbishop of Holgate School where he was a pupil at the time.
“He was quite shy and quiet, and very unsure of himself around other people. It is remarkable how much he has developed. He is so much more confident and has developed this amazing talent.
“Alex can recite word for word all the video adverts we have in the department. He performs his own live voice overs for customers, speaking exactly in time and mimicking the tone perfectly. He only has to listen to it once then he knows it off by heart.
“The customers are fascinated by him, they can’t believe what he can do.”
In his free time Alex has even recorded his voice-overs on to a memory stick, which he often plugs into the televisions in the store to play his version of the adverts.
Alex, who now studies IT at York College, said: “I really enjoy working here. My main jobs are filling up the shelves and pricing up.
“But when customers need information about some products I can do the advert for them. Everyone always says it wouldn’t matter if the televisions broke because they have me.
“Working here has really helped me develop a lot of skills. I enjoy being around other people and working with a team.”
Mr Ely is now calling for more businesses to support youngsters with special needs to get access to the work place.
He said: “We have worked with Archbishop of Holgate School for some time, offering placements to pupils with learning difficulties. Alex enjoyed it so much that when he started at York College he asked if he could stay on with us, and we were more than happy to accept. Alex has gained so much independence.
“He struggled to do things by himself before, yet now he has memorised the bus timetable and is more than comfortable travelling too and from work by himself. Offering placements really gives something to these kids.”
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