It is difficult for young people to get a job straight out of school, particularly hard for neurodiverse people like me, and especially hard during a global pandemic. However, I am proud to say as a 19-year-old autistic person, I have pushed those boundaries.
In September 2019 I began a supported internship in the Regenda Homes Asset Management team. Which is part of a national programme to help young people with learning difficulties or disabilities, to experience work and build the skills needed to get a job.
I started out unsure about what possibilities lay ahead, but with the support of my school and the team’s manager, Ken, I was soon in the swing of things.
Fast forward to March 2020 when lockdown was announced, we were informed we would be working from home. This worried me as it would be a big change, and that’s not just because I’d miss out on visiting my favourite book shop on my way to work! I loved working in the lively office alongside my colleagues, they would always be on hand if I had any issues. Would it be so simple at home?
One flatpack desk and a Microsoft Teams induction later, my worries were gone.
Throughout my time working from home the fantastic colleagues at Regenda Homes were always on hand to answer any questions I had, I received constant support and delivered on all the tasks asked of me, in fact I was 6% ahead of schedule – as you may tell I’m into data!
Things have gone so well that in September I was taken on as an Apprentice by Regenda Homes. The fact I am the first inclusive apprentice in the Liverpool City Region also gives me such a great sense of pride. I would say I am surprised in how much I’ve achieved in such a short time; however, I know how hard I’ve worked and that I deserve this recognition.
As a Data Apprentice one of my key responsibilities is to monitor data lists, ensuring all elements are correct and in order, hence why I love it so much! As well as gaining on the job experience, I am also completing a Level 2 Business Administration Course with The Learning Foundry. With great support from my family, friends, colleagues and tutors I know anything is possible.
My manager, Ken Kristiansen at Regenda Homes said “As a team we haven’t just got by during this pandemic, we have progressed, and a lot of that is down to George. Not only is he happy to embrace and relish in any challenges or opportunities put before him, but he is a ray of sunshine and the future is very bright for George.”
In times of uncertainty, I hope my achievements can inspire other people to grasp opportunities that come their way and not to underestimate themselves. I hope that more businesses look beyond traditional ways of recruiting and realise that there is so much to gain by changing our outlook and doing things differently, I can certainly vouch for that!
Our homes have never been more important to us than they have been during the coronavirus crisis. For some people, home has been a sanctuary. For others, it has been a prison. Everyone deserves a safe, secure, comfortable place to call home. Not just now, in the middle of this crisis, but always.
Investing in social housing makes this possible. It will also boost the economy, create jobs and improve people’s lives when our nation needs it most.
That’s why we’ve launched Homes at the Heart, a national campaign and coalition calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing.