Prince's Trust programme helps Leeds City College student overcome autism barrier and land his dream job

A young man whose autism was becoming a barrier to his dream of working in the travel industry has landed a high speed job thanks to help from Leeds City College.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 4:45 am

Ryan Ellis left school at the age of 15 and started at Leeds City College where he did a number of courses, including in aviation and air cabin crew, but found his autism presented major challenges to his educational advancement when it came to large class sizes and doing presentations.

However, he was enrolled on the college’s Prince’s Trust Team Programme, which helped him overcome those obstacles and Mr Ellis is now a Passenger Support Assistant for LNER (London North Eastern Railway) based at York.

It was one to one support, smaller class sizes and interview preparation which made the difference for the 20-year-old who is also now doing trial shifts to become an on-board host.

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Ryan Ellis now works for LNER.

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“My autism was a big hurdle at college, as I found it very hard to do some stuff such as presentations. But my teachers always helped me in that respect by finding ways for me to get

around the problem. College, and most importantly the guys at the Prince’s Trust, also helped me gain interview skills, especially for my role interview at LNER. I couldn't have done it without them really, as I was really nervous about my interview, especially.”

Mr Ellis says he hopes others will be inspired by him to persevere in education whatever their age to achieve their ambitions.

He said: “I really would encourage people to take up education, especially within college or university, and I would advise anyone to fight for their dreams even if they think they can't do it.

“I spent a lot of years in denial and never in a million years would I have thought I'd land a job in the railway industry. Anything is achievable.”

His story is being told as part of The Festival of Learning, a national campaign to promote the benefits of lifelong learning. The Luminate Group – which comprises Leeds City College, Keighley College, Harrogate College, White Rose Academies Trust and University Centre Leeds - is also working with local partners to deliver programmes that develop skills and support the wellbeing of adults.

Prince’s Trust Team Leader at Leeds City College, Amy Lassu, said it was great to see how the extra support that was provided had paid off.

She said: “Ryan benefitted from a reduced class size and two members of staff being in the classroom for support at all times. He was also encouraged to take all his chances and follow his dreams fully. Ryan has a real passion for all things transport and I couldn’t think of a more fitting job role for him to excel in.

“He is a real go-getter who always gives 110 per cent in all the tasks and activities he undertakes, including the in-depth interview preparation which enabled him to successfully land his job role.”