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Posted By South Gloucestershire and Stroud College on 29/05/2019

Autistic apprentice with 'genuine aspiration to make positive changes' becomes this year's Bristol and Bath Apprentice of the Year

Autistic apprentice with 'genuine aspiration to make positive changes' becomes this year's Bristol and Bath Apprentice of the Year

This year’s Bristol and Bath Apprenticeship Awards took place last Thursday and saw one of SGS College’s students scoop the top award - Bristol and Bath Apprentice of the year.

SGS student, Daniel John, was elated to win not one but two awards - Outstanding Apprentice of the Year in Health, Education and Care, and the top award of the evening, Bristol & Bath Apprentice of the Year.

SGS Assistant Principal, Patrick Mcleod, said: “Daniel’s story is the absolute epitome of what the apprenticeship programme is all about.

"He has turned his autism into a strength, not only for himself but in supporting many others. He is a very deserving winner, and we are very proud of him.”

Daniel’s manager at South Gloucestershire Council, Katie West, said: “Daniel has surpassed any expectations I might ever have had about what an apprentice might achieve.

"I would have expected someone who is eager to learn, develop and impress. This described Daniel perhaps at the outset of his apprenticeship but once his self-confidence grew, he has gone on to make huge changes in the council that he has brought about himself, due to his genuine aspiration to make positive changes for others.

"When Daniel asked me if he could create a presentation on the Autism Spectrum for our team day, I was impressed.

"When I saw the presentation I was blown away. It was like sitting through a professional training session, the likes of which a company might spend a lot of money purchasing.

"Like a professional course, it was confidently delivered but it also changed my understanding utterly.

"I was eager for our training department to see it and Daniel was in no way nervous about this, but rather excited and raring to go.

"They were just as impressed as I was and since then Daniel has been independently arranging and delivering his training across the Council’s staff teams.”

Another example of a positive impact Daniel has had is in the creation of a sensory garden.

“I was inspired by one of my coping strategies, walking outside and enjoying the therapeutic effects of natural stimuli such as the birds singing and the smell of the plants," he said.

"So far, I have created a proposal, pushed it through the system to get it approved, recruited a group of volunteers and coordinated the group to the garden’s creation.”

There are many other examples. Daniel supports the disabled employee group and has facilitated work experience for a school student with autism.

In terms of Daniel’s plans for the future, he said: “I intend to do further work around autism, helping to make workplaces more autism friendly.

"My ambition is to see the autism employability gap closed significantly over the coming years as only 32 per cent of autistic adults are currently in paid employment.

"Through the training I am currently delivering in my apprenticeship my aim is to raise awareness of autism in the workplace.”

To find out more about the Bristol and Bath Business Awards visit http://bbapprenticeshipawards.co.uk

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