Peter has begun a valuable work experience placement at Blenheim Palace as part of LVS Oxford’s plan to help prepare him for being able to enjoy an independent future.
LVS Oxford, just two miles from Blenheim Palace, arranged for Peter, 17, to begin a weekly placement there in late January. Since then he has made excellent progress as part of the guiding team, welcoming visitors at the front door of the palace, providing them with information on what they can see and offering directions. It is a challenging role for someone with autism, as the condition affects social interaction and communication and can make it difficult for them to respond to others when approached or to be sociable and initiate interactions.
Despite this Peter has been thriving in the role and has been joined on work experience at the palace by classmate Dominic, also 17, whose placement is in the Blenheim Palace shop. Karen Wiseman from the Education Team at Blenheim Palace said: “Peter and Dominic have shown a very professional attitude to their work. They have interacted well with other members of staff and the visiting public, and have been very easy to work with. Both Peter and Dominic listen carefully to instructions and work conscientiously and effectively”.
Peter, who is also studying BTECs in Business, Home Cooking, Health & Social Care and Horticulture at LVS Oxford, said: “I am enjoying my work experience at Blenheim Palace as it is such a nice place and I get to talk to people and help them. In the future I want to have a life with a job and a family and I hope this will help me to be able to do that”.
Louisa Allison-Bergin, Head of Centre at LVS Oxford, said: “Our work in developing the prospects of students with autism focuses on creating independent futures for them. Through providing work experience and a range of qualification options that suit the individual – such as A-levels, GCSEs and BTECs – we are able to give students the skills and opportunities they need to be able to live as independently as possible. We are delighted Peter and Dominic are doing so well, they are excellent examples of how young people with autism are able to thrive in social and work environments with the right support and preparation”.
Many of the tasks the students undertake will help build competencies in citizenship, relating to others, managing situations and working as part of a team - all key to being fulfilled and employable adults.