A Worksop teenager with autism, who is excelling in national swimming competitions, has secured a job and has a training placement with help and support from Nottinghamshire County Council.
Joseph Seage, 18 from Gateford, has been working with the council’s transitions team to help him prepare for adulthood.
He swam for the British Special Olympics team in France in 2015 and in the British Para-Championships in July, which involves eight training sessions a week.
The council has supported Joseph in securing paid employment at an online delivery warehouse in Sheffield, which included accessing a grant to help pay for his travel costs.
He is also carrying out training at the Recycling Ollerton and Boughton charity once a week and attends the Adventure Service based in Mansfield Woodhouse, which offers activities for people with additional needs.
His mother Tracey Seage said: “Joseph’s transitions worker has been a rock and I wouldn’t have been able to access the services and funding for Joseph without her help.
“He’s a lot more sociable since gaining work and he likes to be in groups more than before, which is a joy to see.
“I’m proud to see the discipline he’s gained from his swimming is now also being used in his new workplace, which he loves, and his colleagues say he makes the place a lot happier.
“The support we’ve received means Joseph’s a lot more independent and enables me to work four days a week.”
Emma Wilson, Joseph’s transitions support worker, added: “Joseph gives hope to other young people with learning disabilities that they can be accepted in the workplace and sport.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with him and his parents, who have had to sacrifice more than most to ensure that he’s had the opportunity to reach his potential.
“Joseph has approached his job with the same motivation and dedication as his swimming and his colleagues have said that he has breathed life into their workplace with his enthusiasm.
“It’s also great to see him travelling to and from his work place.”
Coun Stuart Wallace, chairman of the council’s adult social care and public health committee, said: “Our transition team helps to make sure that young people with additional needs have the right help and support to thrive into adulthood.
“Joseph’s story shows what can happen if you tap into a young person’s passions and skills and find opportunities where they can develop and excel.”