A South Tyneside training company which works with people who have learning disabilities has recruited its first homegrown apprentice.
Hilary Morgan, from South Shields, completed a skills training course with AutismAble and is now the company’s first learner to be employed.
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.
Hilary, 21, has an Autism Spectrum Condition as well as spina bifida. She said: “This is my first-ever paid employment. My job as an apprentice is to support the class of learners, helping with their spelling and numeracy, and helping with administrative duties.
“I’m getting a wide variety of experience with the learners. The group needs different types of support from practical things like reading, to emotional support.
“It’s built up my confidence massively.”
Education manager Andrew Forster said: “A study in 2013 by The National Center for Health in the USA published findings from surveys of parents of children aged six to 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.
“It’s great to have Hilary on the team. Because she has already taken the skills course herself, she can really relate to the learners and support them as they study.”
AutismAble is aiming to take on at least one apprentice a year from its learners.