2nd April 2021

Nathan's work experience helps mark World Autism Awareness Day

Today we mark World Autism Awareness Day by looking back when 21 Moorfields team created a 6-week virtual work experience programme for autistic student, Nathan Nee.

Our team at 21 Moorfields work closely with The Courtyard, a school in Islington who provide free education for those with special education needs, including autism.

It is very important for the school to engage with employers, to enable students to gain the skills necessary for employment in the future. As an inclusive employer, we were more than happy to help.

Working with The Courtyard, our 21 Moorfields team created a 6-week virtual work experience programme for student, Nathan Nee. It was important to build activities that worked around Nathan’s strengths, and were delivered in such a way that suited Nathan’s abilities.

As those with autism spectrum condition can struggle with communication, the emphasis was made on well-defined objectives that could be clearly communicated. The team worked closely with the school and had regular catch-ups throughout the delivery to ensure they responded and adapted to Nathan’s feedback.

A different perspective

Nathan is a creative student with an interest in design, so the aim was for Nathan to design a welfare facility for the 21 Moorfields site, taking into consideration size and COVID-19 constraints. Each week, Nathan had one hour of ‘contact time’ via Zoom with Sir Robert McAlpine colleagues, followed up by further independent study. His task was based around a real-world problem faced by the 21 Moorfields team and that needed a little bit of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. Neurodiverse people can provide a different perspective on a problem, which is real asset to a team, and something that would be of benefit in this context.

Over the course of the 6 weeks, Nathan used both Matterport and DALUX to gain an understanding of the space available and what should be included in a welfare facility. He then created a welfare design using Google Sketch Up and presented his final design to our 21 Moorfields Project Manager. Throughout, Nathan was able to get an insight into the construction industry, the jobs available, elements of the software used, and the design process. Also gaining confidence with his communications skills, Nathan was able to present clearly on his final design in the final session.

The 21 Moorfields team thank Nathan for his contribution and look forward to working with The Courtyard again soon.

While participating in work experience at Sir Robert McAlpine, I was able to design a COVID-19 safe welfare facility. Laura helped by providing me with important information and teaching me how to use different technology, such as Sketch Up and Matterport. I felt it was easy to understand what to do, and wasn’t worried about asking for help as I was given a very welcoming impression.

Nathan Nee Student

Laura Regan, Community Manager, Sir Robert McAlpine added:

"Work experience is always about trying to create a programme that fits with the individual participants, what they want to learn, and their needs, and this was no different. I really enjoyed working with Nathan, and it was a pleasure to see his confidence improve over the course of the sessions."

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