Young Epilepsy is a national charity which works exclusively for children and young people aged 25 and under, who have epilepsy and associated conditions. In 2014, the Foundation awarded Young Epilepsy with a grant of £34,850 for the creation of a new Business Skills Area (Mock Office) within the Therapy and Skills Training centre for students attending Young Epilepsy’s Further Education College. In 2015 the new DM Thomas Foundation Business Skills Area was unveiled, and we share photos of the grand unveiling with you in November 2015’s edition of Highlights. We are now delighted to be able to share with you an update from one of the students who attends the college, to show what a difference it is already making.
Manuel is 20 and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learning difficulties. He has been at Young Epilepsy since he was 11, starting off as a 52 week residential student. At first, Manuel struggled to settle in, as he found communicating difficult and displayed challenging behaviour as a result. Now at college, Manual attends weekly business administration lessons in the new DM Thomas Foundation Business Skills Suite to improve his employability prospects. Within this calming environment, Manuel has been able to maintain his focus, confidently compose and send descriptive emails, verbally communicate in a professional manner, work on his CV, practise completing application forms and practice job interviews. He has learnt how to deal with problems at work and has had training on health and safety in the work environment.
Manuel is part of the Hospital Project led by Surrey Choices EmployAbility, who provide work placements for adults with learning difficulties. He was successful in his interview for a position in the hospital canteen and will start his placement next term for two whole days a week, which will involve customer service, food preparation and cleaning. He is also in the running, along with another Young Epilepsy student, for an additional role at the hospital during the summer term.
The skills Manuel is learning at college extend to all areas of his life, as well has preparing him for employment. His new found skills came in handy recently, when he accidentally left his bag at a train station. He emailed his tutor to say he would be late, searched the internet to find the number of the train station and submitted a lost baggage form independently.
Manuel is rightly proud of his achievements and says: “the best thing is learning new skills. It makes me happy”.
Young Epilepsy’s Work Based Learning Coordinator, Wendy Tester, said “this space is a great addition to the campus. It’s amazing when a student gets a placement, it’s a real achievement and anything that aids that is only a good thing”.