"James has come on in leaps and bounds. He should be very proud of what he has achieved"
An innovative scheme to help young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) move from education to employment has helped transform the life of a 17-year-old from Treorchy, South Wales.
James Trembath was referred to the ESF funded Real Opportunities project, which is jointly run by Remploy and the National Autistic Society (NAS). The project aims to motivate young people with ASD and support them into work placements and work.
"James had been on work-based training and a work placement before he came to us," said Alun Wilkins, a specialist Employment Advisor with Remploy. "But unfortunately the placement wasn't a success."
Alun worked with Sadie Middleton from NAS to build James' self-esteem and prepare him for another try at work experience.
"Like many people with ASD, James had limited understanding of how his condition was affecting his life," said Alun. "One of the first things we did was to arrange development sessions that gave him - and his family - a better understanding of the condition."
A work placement at a local building products company, Vision Products, quickly followed - and this time it was an overwhelming success.
"Crucially, he continued to receive one-to-one support from Remploy and NAS in the workplace," explained Alun. "He quickly struck up a friendship with his mentor and now he is even planning a night out with colleagues, which is a fantastic achievement for a person with ASD where social interaction is often a major issue."
James was also an instant success in his job making windows. "From day one he achieved 0% error rate from quality control," added Alun. "His work rate increased dramatically and he is now able to produce the same number of windows as his colleagues, with minimal support. In fact, he has adapted so well he has been offered a one year paid apprenticeship starting in April."
Thanks to Real Opportunities, James now has a brighter future. "He has come on in leaps and bounds in the six months since he was referred to the scheme," said Alun. "It has been a joy working with him and he should be very proud of what he has achieved."
Find out more about Autism spectrum disorder with our A-Z of disabilities