I’m 19 years old, was born in Elgin, Scotland, 21st September, 1998. I moved down to Hull in the year 2000, plus I live with my mum and stepdad. I’m officially an only child, have no other siblings. I have grandparents, some aunts, uncles and quite a lot of cousins. My hobbies include films, console and IPad game apps, reading, sketching and drawing things (mainly animals and other creatures). I’m also into cars - American classics are my favourite. I’m really good at remembering dates of when previous movies got released and events from my childhood.
I became diagnosed with Autism when I was about two. I used to find it difficult when there was a change in my routines and it was always hard to express my feelings when I was younger. I still tend to get anxious quite a lot. I studied at Northcott Special School for eight years, then East Riding College in Beverley for two years. At college, I found it really frustrating when some members of my group were not so sensible. I wanted to find something new, somewhere where I could develop my work skills and be around more mature people. I then heard about the Pathway Plus program and the possibility of doing a supported internship at Siemens Gamesa, which actually sounded like a great opportunity. I was invited to do taster days and before I broke off for summer, I heard I was finally accepted.
I am now enjoying working as an intern for 5 days a week. For 3 days a week I am based up in the Siemens Gamesa Admin offices, helping staff out with photocopying, scanning, laminating as well as with data entry tasks and keeping all the stationery supplies stocked up. For the other 2 days I work with the ISS Cleaning team in the blade factory itself, where I have recently learnt how to use the sit-on scrubber-drier machine to clean the factory floor – really good fun!
Reasonable Adjustments made to help me apply for the role:
Two taster days were set up for me by Pathway Plus at Siemens Gamesa
On my taster days I was supported travelling on public transport to and from Siemens Gamesa by the Pathway coaches.
Pathway staff communicated regularly with my mother to update her about availability of places on the program.
Reasonable Adjustments made for me in the workplace:
Support of two job coaches permanently on site;
To develop confidence relating to staff in the work areas
To help write task lists for the day
To support with tasks when needed (e.g. using Excel)
To overcome travel problems.
To clarify instructions and information
To liaise with parents when needed
The opportunity to gradually increase the number of hours I do a week - I started off doing 3 days a week, went up to 4 in November, then up to 5 in February.
How these adjustments have helped me:
Having two job coaches permanently on site means I have someone there at all times to help me if I am finding tasks difficult, if I need a little guidance or even if I just need someone to talk to.
Support to develop my confidence in relation to staff has helped me improve my communication. I feel more relaxed and less anxious. I have now begun to approach staff in Admin myself and ask if there are any tasks that I can help them with.
Support in writing my task list for the day helps me to improve my independence and use my initiative rather than me having to keep asking the job coaches what I should do next.
The job coaches have supported me with more complicated tasks such as data entry. I have now learnt how to create spread sheets using Excel and I keep notes of anything new I learn so that I can refer back – this helps me to be independent.
Help in overcoming travel problems has helped me to develop problem solving skills. I am now able to cope independently when things do not run smoothly with public transport and I know the alternative bus routes and times to get from my home to Siemens Gamesa in time for work.
I like to be clear about any information I am given verbally and the job coaches have supported by explaining anything I haven’t fully grasped and by putting things into written format. This helps me to fully understand what has been said and also helps me to explain better to my family when being asked about what has happened during the day.
The opportunity to gradually increase my days on the internship to five days a week has helped me to build up my resilience and to become more work ready. It now means that I can gain more experience of a wider variety of tasks, which will be good for my CV!
What difference has working at this placement made?
I much prefer being here in the workplace rather than in college. I feel like I’ve become a lot more grown up over the past few months. I am proud of being an intern and part of the supported internship, rather than a college student. I also feel that the staff who I have met and helped out like my company here. I feel valued. They always come and ask how I am or come to me with jobs for me to do.
I feel that I am acquiring new skills all the time, both for an office environment and for cleaning in the production area. I have recently had the promising news from the ISS manager that there could be some paid work available for me in the summer cleaning in the factory, as she has been impressed with what I have done. This is really exciting for me as I would love to work here at the Siemens Gamesa site!