Meet the trailblazing Ranger breaking barriers for people with Down Syndrome

21st March 2024

“Having Down syndrome and being outdoors feels free, I love being part of nature and a team, and accepted as who I want to be.”

Around 6% of people with learning difficulties are in paid employment, despite 69% of them wanting to work. And that’s out of around 1.5m people.

Helping to change that statistic and create better lives and opportunities for people with Down syndrome – is Severn Trent Ranger, Ed Daly.

Ed, 25 from The Midlands, has always had a passion for nature. A keen walker, often frequenting the hills of the Staffordshire Moorlands, Ed’s most comfortable being hands on, outside and active.

But it’s perhaps his job as a ranger at Severn Trent’s Tittesworth Reservoir, that allows him to really connect with the great outdoors, something he calls his dream job.

Ed’s part of a team of five that help manage and look after the site that spans across 96 hectares of land that often welcomes up to 360,000 visitors a year – he’s also the first person with Down syndrome working in the conservation sector as a ranger, a true trailblazer. The site, home to thousands of different wildlife and habitats, is nestled neatly on the edge of the picturesque Peak National Park.

He says about his job: “I enjoy meeting visitors and I always look at the site through their eyes to make sure they have a safe and happy experience. I help with lots of jobs including path work, fencing, vegetation clearance, leaf blowing in the autumn, and I help with setting up and dismantling the seasonal trails we do for the children. So my job is very varied really.

My favourite bit is teamwork, that suits me. My motto is teamwork makes the dream work. But I also really like doing jobs independently and routine tasks suit me too.”

Ed’s success at Midlands based Severn Trent, has meant the company is now looking to welcome another person with Down syndrome to the business, as the company continues working with WorkFit from the Down’s Syndrome Association. His manager at the time, Josie Muncaster , helped support Ed into employment, and encourages other businesses and companies to do the same.

Josie says, We love having Ed on the team, he’s got an amazing sense of humour and he’s a really hard worker and he’ll do anything to the best of his ability. While there were challenges that we’ve since overcome, he’s now created opportunities that means helping pave the way for others with additional needs or support.”

Supporting Josie with hiring Ed was Molly Keal from WorkFit, part of the Down’s Syndrome Association. The charity supports people into paid employment, and work with people with Downs Syndrome and connecting them to forward thinking employers.

Molly, from WorkFit says:We believe that people with Down Syndrome have an incredible contribution to make. We work with a wide range of forward-thinking employers to help our candidates into a variety of different types of jobs. When Ed actually came to me, he said ‘My dream job is to be a ranger’ we were able to support him to make that happen, and that’s fantastic. We always say never limit the expectations of your colleague, because once trained, they will continue to exceed expectations – as Ed has done with being a ranger.”

Ed’s other passion is also about improving the lives of others. He’s a facilitator in the Advisory Group to the National Down Syndrome Policy Group, and has spoken at the Houses of Parliament campaigning to help people with Down Syndrome, and make sure they have the same opportunities as others. And for this year’s World Down Syndrome Day, he’ll be doing the same at number 10 Downing Street.

“I just want to help get our needs better understood in health, education, social care, housing and employment so that the lives of everyone with Down syndrome can improve,” he says.

Ed hopes that by sharing his story, more people like him can get their dream job – and help inspire other businesses organisations to explore the benefits of working with groups like WorkFit, to create jobs and opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. “Having Down syndrome and being outdoors feels free, I love being part of nature and a team and accepted as who I want to be.”

Josie’s advice for other businesses is simple, she says: “I would say to anyone thinking of hiring someone with Down’s Syndrome, it’s a fantastic thing to do, overcome your own barriers and stereotypes because I’ve never looked back on hiring Ed.”

To learn more about the Down Syndrome Associations WorkFit programme, visit here and find out about current jobs, and life at Severn Trent over at