Two South Tyneside students have proven that having a learning disability shouldn’t be a barrier to finding work after gaining employment.
Melissa Binyon and Shaun Armour are now the proud employees at local advocacy organisation ‘Your Voice Counts’.
AutismAble have created links with a range of local employers and we hope that these jobs will be the first of manyAndrew Forster
The pair, aged 23 and 25 and both from South Shields, have taken on the role of Learning Disability Support Workers.
The offers of employment came after the pair completed their Level 2 Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities qualification at AutismAble based at Customs Space, South Shields.
AutismAble education manager Andrew Forster said: “We train people with autism and learning disabilities and anyone else who may benefit from our support.
“The last prevalence study in the UK was carried out in 2012 by the NHS Information Centre and the University of Leicester. This data indicated that 1.1 % of the UK population have an Autism Spectrum Condition. More recently, a study in 2013 by The National Center for Health in the USA published findings from surveys of parents of children aged 6-17 that showed a prevalence rate for Autism Spectrum Condition of 1 in 50.
“These studies indicate that there could be between 1,670 and 3,000 young people in South Tyneside living with autism who haven’t yet been diagnosed.”
He added: “It is a fantastic achievement for both learners. Melissa and Shaun have overcome multiple barriers to complete this course and to achieve employment at the end of it is wonderful. It will be a great example to other young people attending our courses.”
“AutismAble have created links with a range of local employers and we hope that these jobs will be the first of many.”
AutismAble works with young people aged 16 to 24 to help them fulfil their potential, providing free full and part time courses in skills to help prepare them for employment, and in vocational subjects which include Business Admin, Digital Skills, Health and Social Care, Maths and English.
Free education and training is available up to the age of 24 for anyone with a learning disability. The courses are funded by South Tyneside Council and the Education and Skills Funding agency and have a focus on getting young people into work.
Melissa said: “This is my first ever paid employment and I received amazing support from the AutismAble team right through to the job application itself. “
“I’m getting a wide variety of experience with people with varying disabilities – the people I am working with need different types of support from practical things like reading, to emotional support. It’s built up my confidence massively.”
Shaun said: “I learned a lot on the course and can’t wait to apply my knowledge in a real working environment. I’m thankful to AutismAble for supporting me and encouraging me to go for the job.”
AutismAble also provides workshops and training for business, SEN support for schools and business enterprise support for young people with ideas to start their own micro-businesses. For details visit autismable.com