Stint at council eases way to work
Moving from the familiarity of school life to the workplace can be daunting for many young people, but Josh Drakeford is making the shift step by step with help from Emerge Supported Work Trust and work experience at Porirua City Council.
Nineteen- year- old Josh, who has autism, has just completed a six-week stint of one day a week working at the council and did extraordinarily well, council land use and subdivision engineering manager Phil Rhodes said.
Josh’s interests include housing and town planning and Mr Rhodes took him under his wing.
He offered Josh hands- on experience in reading and following maps of new subdivisions, taught him the basics of how to use GPS surveying devices, and filing duties.
‘‘Josh was always positive and well-mannered and a good worker. He was a fast learner, and certainly knows his own mind,’’ Mr Rhodes said.
Josh travelled independently by public transport from Onslow College to the council to work in the asset management and operations business group.
‘‘Porirua City Council was a great place for Josh to work because it gave him an opportunity to develop his indepen- dence with using public transport to get to there and also his communication and problem solving skills,’’ Emerge transition consultant Justine Pepperell said.
‘‘ The team at Porirua City Council has provided a friendly and inclusive work experience environment for Josh and his motivation for attending work experience increased as each week went by.
‘‘He has been relaxed, happy and challenged at different sites around the city where Phil and his team work,’’ Ms Pepperell said.
Emerge Trust chairman Chris Lipscombe is also Porirua council’s economic development manager.
‘‘The Emerge team works alongside those with disabilities to identify work goals and create work opportunities,’’ Mr Lipscombe said.
‘‘Getting a job is hard for any young person, and it’s especially rewarding when we can create a real work experience for someone like Josh.’’
Engineering success: While gaining work experience at Porirua City Council, autistic Johnsonville student Josh Drakeford, centre, met mayor Nick Leggett, right, and council engineering cadet Sean de Roo, who showed him how to use the Computer Aided Design system.