An autistic teenager is about to start training to save lives and property, as an emergency gas engineer, after massively impressing bosses during a first-of-its-kind internship.
Niall , 18, is the first graduate to land an apprenticeship in an engineering role from a scheme that supports Liverpool people with special educational needs and disabilities.
Now, after completing his year-long internship, Niall, from Speke, has accepted an offer to start an apprenticeship which will see him train to be a Cadent first-call operative (FCO).
He’ll join a team of engineers ready day and night, 365 days a year, to deal with reports of gas leaks. Once fully trained, Niall will deal with incidents across Cadent’s Merseyside patch.
Niall, whose autism mainly manifests with communication and social anxiety issues, is over the moon. He hopes his achievement can be a catalyst to helping others find their dream job, as well as to encourage more local employers to have confidence to offer similar opportunities.
“I would love it if this steered more companies to employ more people like me,” he said.
“The scale [of autism] is so wide. An apprenticeship like this is perfect for me but won’t be right for everyone. But there will be a right fit, and the right jobs, if we’re just given the chance.”
Martin Wilby, Supported Employment Officer, Intern to Work, Liverpool City Council, described Niall’s story as “immense”.
“Most of our supported interns go on to find work in hospitality, which are also great opportunities and well-suited to their needs. Niall is the first to land an engineering role, which is perfect for him and his skills: his attention to detail and his academic, problem-solving mindset,” said Martin.
From IT programmes to engineering programmes, there are many types of apprenticeships on offer. Entry criteria ranges from 5 GCSEs to 2 A-levels/BTEC Level 3 for higher and degree level apprenticeships