Our stories: Leeds charities helped me to learn life skills

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Meet Dan: After leaving college, I was having trouble finding work.

I was offered the internship at Yorkshire Water. College life is very different from work life and we learnt about work skills and life skills, such as how to dress and communicate.

My role at the moment is carrying out background research.

Yorkshire Water goes out and gives presentations to schools and other places. They talk about the environment and clean water. I help with organising those. One of the hardest things to overcome has been my own confidence. At college I didn’t interact with anyone much.

I was quiet, reserved and didn’t have many friends. I remember I was really nervous going on buses. But now I catch two buses to get here and spend almost two hours each way.

I like it here and want to be here. I like to try and make an effort and I want to give the job everything I’ve got.

The job has given me confidence to do a lot of things on my own - like taking my uncle’s dog out for walks every day.

I talk to other people while I’m out. I wouldn’t have been able to do that a couple of years ago.

Lighthouse Futures Trust helps equip young people on the autistic spectrum with the skills, qualifications and confidence to progress into employment. Leeds Community Foundation supported the school through its Employability Partnership scheme, enabling the charity to develop job opportunities for 18 students with companies such as Yorkshire Water. The scheme helped participants build aspirations and allowed them to lead more independent lives.

For more information about the Lighthouse Futures Trust, visit lighthousefuturestrust.org.uk

Find out more about the work of the community foundation at www.leedscf.org.uk.