Derbyshire teen with autism and his campaigning mum hailed at awards

As reported last year, Zak Martin, of South Normanton, has seen his mental health and well-being boosted thanks to his work experience placements with leading highways company Costain.

Zak, who is very interested in engineering, first met the Costain team at an event in 2013 when he was nine-years-old.

Last week, Zak and his mum Marie – who has spoken of the ‘absolute fight’ she has faced to get her son the education and support he deserves – attended the National Highways Industry Awards, courtesy of Costain.

Marie said: “Zak and myself got a special shout out for his fantastic achievements with his work experience and also for our campaign to raise disability awareness in the workplace.

“They very much consider Zak to be part of their team – it’s a real feel good factor and it gives young people and parents hope too.

“It promotes true inclusion and breaking down barriers for disability.

“I’m also doing lots of ambassador work for disability via Twitter and they acknowledged that at the awards too.

“It was a complete surprise – we had no idea we would feature in the ceremony.”

At the event, Costain bosses described Zak as a ‘credit to our industry’.

“He’s going to make an excellent engineer,” they added.

There was a massive round of applause and lots of smiles for amazing Zak – who even joined a band on stage during the event to confidently rock along to Livin’ On A Prayer. What a star!