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At the Aldingbourne Trust, we run our free award winning Work Aid service funded by West Sussex County Council. Work Aid aims to match adults with learning disabilities and / or autism with suitable work placements, to support employment opportunities, challenge long-standing stereotypes about disability, and refocus attention on the abilities of the individual.
The people we support work through a tailored programme to prepare them for the world of work including skills training, assistance with job applications and supported inductions with employers.
The Work Aid programme empowers individuals by raising their self-confidence, independence and self-esteem while challenging perceptions of disability in the workplace.
Learning Disability Week takes place in May each year. As part of this awareness week, we would like to tell you about Luke, who is one of the Trust’s Work Aid clients.
Luke was referred to the Work Aid for support, as he has autism and has also suffered from anxiety and depression. He was living alone, unemployed, and had little contact with his family.
We provided an employment consultant to support Luke, to get to know him and build his trust, to enable us to understand his needs and what would make him happy. As a result we found out about his great love of aircraft.
The Work Aid team successfully made contact with a company based at Gatwick Airport who are responsible for aircraft cleaning. By helping Luke throughout the application process, and supporting him during his interview, Luke was offered a job and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Luke now describes his autism as his ‘Super power’, as he was able to achieve his lifetime ambition when the ground crew servicing a Boeing 777 jet offered him the chance to get a close up view of the engine.
As a result of his employment, Luke has increased his social circle through becoming a well respected member of staff at work. He has also grown in confidence and now has more contact with his family.