Taurai hails a ‘life-changing’ experience through National Grid and Round Oak School partnership.
"It has given me a platform to develop and learn important life skills in an environment like no other."
Taurai Horton, pupil at Round Oak School.
Over the last few years National Grid and Round Oak School in Warwick have formed a strong partnership to provide more work-based learning opportunities for students with specific educational needs.
In early 2013, 12 students from the school – including Taurai Horton who has autism – were offered a place on National Grid’s ‘Work Inspiration Week’ (WIW), enabling them to get a taste of work experience within a real business environment.
The WIW left Taurai feeling inspired and boosted his confidence. And he’d obviously made a great impression on National Grid too – it led to the offer of a one year EmployAbility internship starting in September that year!
The EmployAbility programme is designed to give interns exposure to multiple roles and departments – offering them experience, insight, breadth and variety. Interns are also supported by job coaches and mentors, without whose support and guidance Taurai says, he wouldn’t be where he is now.
One of his tasks was to produce a presentation linking sustainability with financial performance for the Chief Executive – a daunting task that required a lot of research and planning. With the guidance of his mentor, Joseph, he succeeded and proved to himself that he could do it.
This experience highlighted his skills and a real passion for working on climate change. It also made Taurai realise that he could do things beyond what he’d believed he was capable of.
Taurai was one of five people who completed the programme and at the end of his internship, was offered a permanent role at National Grid. He says, “It’s been an amazing experience to have and I am thankful I got the chance to be one of the first on the programme. It has given me a platform to develop and learn important life skills in an environment like no other. The programme’s impact has been life-changing and will give us all the best chance of leading a fulfilling and rewarding life”.
Taurai is now happily employed as a SSR Support Assistant working on sustainability and climate change, and is making the best use of the skills he has learned whilst continuing in his personal growth and development. You can hear more from Taurai by reading his Ambitious About Autism blog.