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Toby's housekeeping skills secure him paid work

A Prior's Court young person is now in

paid employment with us, marking a

major milestone both for him and the

organisation.

Young person Toby, who like all young people at

Prior's Court has complex autism, became a paid

employee on Tuesday, 1 March, working within the

Housekeeping department.

Individuals with autism face huge challenges in

entering the workforce, with the latest statistics

suggesting only one in five are employed - the

highest rate of unemployment of all disabled

groups.

Toby is working two four hour shifts per week,

under the supervision of Carmel Haye, a Job Coach

in Prior's Court's Housekeeping programme of

vocational learning.

Like all staff members within the Housekeeping

team, Toby reports to a line manager, Debbie

Bradshaw, who conducts review meetings with him.

Toby is primarily responsible for the housekeeping

of our on-site flat for parental visits, but works

anywhere Debbie assigns him to.

To help Toby better understand the concept of

his employment, an adapted job description

and contract was created by Prior's Court's onsite

speech and language therapy team, while

discussions with his parents were had around his

financial remuneration.

Toby is the second of our young people to gain

employment at Prior's Court, but the first within a

new careers process with the aim to secure paid

employment for young people here and with

third-party organisations.

Nickie Dunphy, Prior's Court Careers Lead/Job

Coach Co-ordinator, said: "It is important to stress

that Toby is filling a genuine vacancy. There is

a skills gap here that Toby fills and we are not

simply creating jobs for young people.

"This has been a real team effort to get this

far. From Toby's Job Coach Carmel and Tutor

Nikki to the Speech and Language Therapy and

Safeguarding teams and Toby's

residential home staff, all

have pulled together to

ensure we have built a

new process to follow

for all young people."

Toby, who also

completes

a weekly

housekeeping

work

placement at

Douai Abbey

near Woolhampton, is on a fixed term contract as he

is due to transition from Prior's Court this summer.

Toby's parents, Emma and Adam, said: "We are

very excited for Toby to be given the opportunity

to demonstrate the life skills that he has been

taught at Prior's Court over a number of years, such

as developing his speech and language. The staff

have been amazing with him and his confidence

has blossomed as a result."

Sue Piper, Prior's Court Director of Young People's

Learning, said: "This is enormously exciting news for

both Toby and for Prior's Court. People with autism

face the very real prospect of never having paid work

and so miss out on the life opportunities and sense

of self-worth employment can bring.

"We want our young people to secure employment

with organisations in the local area, but it is

important that we practice what we say and

demonstrate how it can be done and so give

confidence to potential employers

about the skills of our

young people."

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