Stint at coun­cil eases way to work

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

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.

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