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To help people with autism and learning disabilities into work Barking and Dagenham College launches internships

PUBLISHED: 15:21 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 11 December 2019

Barking and Dagenham College students Alex Smyth, 18, and Jordan Ruhuma, 19. They're both on supported internships at Barking Riverside to help them learn skills for the workplace. Picture: BDC.

Barking and Dagenham College students Alex Smyth, 18, and Jordan Ruhuma, 19. They're both on supported internships at Barking Riverside to help them learn skills for the workplace. Picture: BDC.

BDC

Barking and Dagenham College has launched year-long internships to get people with autism and other learning disabilities into work.

Young people from 16 to 24 are supported by family, an instructor and a "supported employment specialist", who works one-to-one with the student in the workplace.

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Three internships in the Reach Supported Internship Programme began in September with Barking Riverside, L&Q and waste handling company ENVAC.

Dagenham's Alex Smyth, 18, has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. He can have difficulties with social skills, attention and listening, but began his first job with ENVAC to learn new skills.

"Alex is a great lad. Initially quiet but who has opened up as he has got to know the team," said ENVAC managing director Dave Buckley, adding: "He can be trusted to get on with his jobs unsupervised and will contribute to discussions within the office. Additionally what he doesn't know about games and gaming isn't worth knowing!"

The students get to work in three departments during their time at the companies to get different experiences.

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