Michael Spencer cooks up work placement

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, and help shatter misconceptions around the condition, we wanted to share this story with you.

Michael Spencer is 21 years old and lives with autism. Michael has struggled to get a work placement due to the disability. A couple of months ago Alrewych Court in Walsall was approached by RecruitAbility. This company helps people with a disability find work placements, which could eventually lead to a permanent job. They wanted to set Michael up with a work placement at Housing 21 and since Michael had an NVQ in catering it made sense for him to work in the court’s restaurant.

Michael now works five days a week, for three hours each day. His duties include serving meals, cash handling, and interacting with vulnerable adults and people from the community.  Michael is not only gaining invaluable working experience and daily living skills but also improving his confidence and sense of self worth.

Michael is with Housing 21 for a three month work placement and could be made a permanent employee after a successful trial.

Callum Fowler, Day Centre Manager comments: “Michael has displayed a brilliant working code of conduct, he is always on time and is very polite and considerate to everyone he comes into contact with.”

Michael said: “The work placement is excellent; it has improved my confidence and living skills. I would love to work for Housing 21 full time if given the opportunity when my placement has ended.”

Mandy Spencer, Michael’s mum, said: “Michael has had to overcome some difficult issues in his young life but he left school with higher grades than his teachers said he would. I sent him to college to learn a trade; he spent the first two years in learning support and then gained his NVQ level 2 in catering.

“Michael has become a more confident and happy young man and I think this is because someone gave him a chance to learn within a work place.”

Photo: Michael (centre) with work colleagues Simon Hanley and Lynn Danks

For more information on RecruitAbility visit www.recruit-ability.co.uk

World Autism Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of autism.