Supporting young people with ASD to reach their career goals
This week, ahead of World Autism Awareness Day, we caught up with the guys to find out how the program is supporting them to make their career goals a reality.
How did you get involved in the Vocational Skills program?
Ben: When I was shopping around to see which program suited me I found Northcott a lot better because of the social part of it. I found people here were more on the same level as me and it was easier to socialise and have conversations.
Jack: Me and my parents thought it would benefit me a lot to support me with my skills and boost up my confidence.
What have you learned through Vocational Skills?
Jack: We’ve learned how to do resumes and cover letters and how to behave in a job interview.
Ben: We’ve learned about social confidence, how to know if you’re qualified for a job, what to look for in a job ad and how to prepare for an interview. We also learnt other things away from jobs - like how to deal with nerves.
Jack: They also supported us with our travel training. Before I started I would struggle with the trains and the timetables. But now I am pretty good with it. I’m now able to catch the bus by myself and read those numbers on the bus to know where I’m going.
Ben: They’ve taught us how to access the community and we’ve gone on outings. It’s just made me feel more confident to go out into the community and feel safe.
As someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), how has the Vocational Skills program supported you?
Ben: Simplifying things has been a big one for me. I know in school sometimes I didn’t understand the terms or words they would use for different subjects.
Jack: Same with me as well.
What do you think of the Vocational Skills staff?
Jack: They’ve been really good to us; they’re always there to help us.
Ben: Their teaching style has been very good to me in being able to support me to understand things and learn different skills.
What volunteering or work experience opportunities have you had through the Vocational Skills program?
Ben: Last year I did some work experience at a gym near Northcott called Oxigen Fitness. I got to assist the trainers and do admin work too. I found it really enjoyable – the two weeks went quick!
Jack: I did work experience last year at Big W. I was returning items back to the shelves. It was enjoyable.
What kind of career would you like to pursue when you finish the Vocational Skills program?
Ben: I’m not so much into the personal training side of things, but more the coaching and mentoring with young kids, so sport coaching would be good for me.
Jack: I’m looking for something that is related to my skills and talents. I’m really creative and I like to make things. I made an Iron Man suit that I wore to a Northcott Halloween party and everyone loved it.
For World Autism Awareness Day what would you like people to know about ASD?
Ben: I think for people with ASD, you should never let people tell you can’t do something. You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t.