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GSAL Transport helps get students on the road to work

Monday 12 December 2016

GSAL has joined forces with a charitable trust and one of the region’s largest companies to help get a pioneering scheme off the ground that offers work experience to young people with an autism spectrum condition.

When the school heard that students from Lighthouse School and Leeds City College were struggling to get to Yorkshire Water in Bradford to take part in an intern programme, GSAL Transport offered to put a minibus and driver at their disposal.

The year-long internships for seven students had been organised by Lighthouse Futures Trust, a charity which has been set up to create employment opportunities for young people with autism, and Yorkshire Water’s parent company the Kelda Group. However the interns were not able to travel by public transport and the cost of private hire was prohibitive.

GSAL’s offer of a minibus and driver for the journey from Leeds to Yorkshire Water’s offices in Bradford was gratefully accepted. The bus collects and returns the interns from three designated points.

GSAL driver Simon Turner said: “They are a great bunch of lads and it’s a pleasure to drive them to and from work. They are thoroughly enjoying their placements at Yorkshire Water and the journey is all part of it.

“We enjoy listening to music on the bus and they’ve decided to get into the festive spirit so they’re bringing their favourite Christmas CDs to play!”

Katie Parlett, founder of Lighthouse Futures Trust and Lighthouse School, said: “Many young adults on the autistic spectrum have hidden talents that aren’t used because employers just don’t know how to tap into them.

“We hope this programme will recognise, value and use the talents our young people have and its success will help us to expand and work with other companies in the future to give more young adults these opportunities.”

Statistics show that in 2015-16, only six per cent of adults (aged from 18 to 64 years old) with learning disabilities in England were in paid employment.

Photo: Driver Simon Turner (back left) is pictured with some of the interns and Kerry Hazlewood, one of Lighthouse job coaches.

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