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Real Stories: “I feel more at ease when I know I’ve got someone to hold my hand”

Man looking out. Focus on his hand by his side

James was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of five. At 27, he lives with his mum in Sunderland and had been unemployed for 11 months when he joined Moving On Tyne & Wear (MOTW).

How MOTW helped James

Due to his Autism, James was the perfect fit for our Sunderland (now Tyne and Wear wide) Innovation Project, Pathways, which supports people specifically with Autism or learning difficulties. The Navigators in our programme help people across Tyne & Wear with personal development and life skills while helping them find employment opportunities.

James suffered from low self-esteem and had very little confidence in social interactions, struggling to find employment which accommodated his aversion to busy or loud environment. His condition became a barrier in his life which he felt restricted him.

After formulating a plan of action with his Navigator, Julian, James slowly began to engage in new activities and build his confidence. After expressing an interest in technology, Julian encouraged James to take part in Go Reboot at Software City in Sunderland, an introductory course to help people work in the tech industry. This gave James an insight of his true capabilities and broadened his skills base in the tech sector. The experience lifted his confidence to the point where James independently attended an open day at Sunderland University which eventually resulted in him enrolling to study Animation, Games & VFX.

Today, James has been with Moving On Tyne & Wear for some months and has been able to find the confidence to take part in many experiences he would have avoided previously.

Finding work

The Employer Engagement team recently connected James with local employer, Tombola, where he’s secured a position as a Junior Animator.

James feels without the personalised support from the Innovation Team at MOTW he would still be at home in his bedroom applying for jobs and getting turned down due to a lack of work experience after struggling to present himself to employers in the past. James now feels that having autism is not as much of a barrier.

MOTW was able to encourage James to seek out these opportunities and help him build positive attitudes and routines, along with his confidence. The one-to-one employment support advice has helped James change his attitude towards his Autism. He states, “I feel more at ease when I know I’ve got someone to hold my hand when needed.”

Watch James share his story!

Get in touch to find out more about Pathways, or any other support we offer to help manage health barriers holding people back from employment.


*Stock image used to protect the identity of the participant 

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