Hereford teen with autism aims to be mechanic after garage help
A teenager with autism is looking towards a career in mechanics after successfully spending time on work experience in a Hereford garage.
Nathan Mansell is hoping to start an apprenticeship in the future after securing a work placement at Griffiths Auto Services in his home city.
The 16-year-old, who lives with his mum Sam and dad Mark in the King’s Acre area, is looking to make the move when his full-time education at Summergil House, run by Orbis Education and Care, near Presteigne, comes to an end.
Mark, who approached Griffiths Autos, in Beech Business Park off Roman Road, on behalf of his son, was really pleased when Georgia and Billy Griffiths said they would love to give Nathan a chance.
Mr Griffiths said: “Nathan wants to work, he’s itching to get into the workplace and he wants to start earning money."
"We, as Griffiths Autos, are very proud of being able to help Nathan get into the workplace, he has fit in with us all so well and we are very happy with the work he’s been doing."
Mark added: “Billy does have previous knowledge of children with autism as a condition and I think that’s what pushed him to go the extra mile and actually take Nathan on.”
“Nathan communicates with people there, he’s mixing with customers at the garage and from day one he’s just got stuck in. He absolutely loves it and we’re chuffed to bits with what Billy has done for him.”
Orbis Education and Care said it was widely acknowledged that people with autism face multiple disadvantages throughout their lives that can result in a lack of confidence.
Recent data from the Office for National Statistics showed just 22% of autistic adults to be in any kind of employment, a lower figure than previously estimated by the likes of the National Autistic Society.
So, for those who have been working with Nathan at Summergil House since he was a child, said it had been a "huge delight" to see him become a confident young man who is in the process of creating a future pathway into employment.
Eve Hodnett, head of education at Summergil House, said: “The pathway into full-time employment is rarely straight forward for anyone, but can involve a great many additional barriers and challenges for those living with autism.
“These barriers each person must overcome in order to carve out a way forward for themselves are also unique to every individual, so what the future holds for those living with autism often involves a significant amount of uncertainty in the process.
“To see Nathan so fully committed to a role which holds such promise and potential for his future beyond his time with us at Summergil House is an absolute delight for those of us who have seen him grow from a quiet child into the young man he is today.
“He is a shining example of how anyone can follow their passions in life regardless of what their challenges may be. We are all so proud to count Nathan as one of our own here at Summergil House and can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.”
Orbis Education and Care runs 16 schools, day services and residential services for children and adults in Wales and England which support people with complex needs associated with autism.
At Summergil House, it includes 18 acres of nature trails, play areas, a giant polytunnel and a large chicken coop, alongside a sports hall, hydrotherapy pool and shared residential kitchens, dining rooms and lounges.