Autistic pupils from Phoenix School visit world of work at Nomura Bank

Phoenix pupils in Nomura's post-room [photos: Tony Hussey]

Phoenix pupils in Nomura's post-room [photos: Tony Hussey] - Credit: TH EBP

Special needs youngsters from London’s East End who have autistic spectrum disorders have been on a groundbreaking visit to a City financial institution to see where they can fit in.

Phoenix pupils in Nomura's post-room [photos: Tony Hussey]

Phoenix pupils in Nomura's post-room [photos: Tony Hussey] - Credit: TH EBP

A group of 12 pupils from Phoenix special school in Bromley-by-Bow were taken on a “first time ever” visit to Nomura investment bank to see the working world in action.

They looked round the mail room which already employs two autistic staff members and got an understanding of the processes for sending and receiving mail and how to use some of the equipment.

The trip was organised by Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership to give ‘special needs’ youngsters the possibilities of work experience and placements.

“It has given them new insights and helped build their confidence,” the Education Partnership’s Imdadur Rahman said. “There are people just like them working in big businesses that previously they might have thought were closed to them.

“All large corporate organisations should look at the simple ways in which they might be able to provide opportunities for these young people.”

The Phoenix youngsters talked to employees about their roles, and got to practise their communications skills.

Most Read

The teacher who accompanied them, Alana Wagner, said later: “Now we can talk about jobs that are possible and the behaviour they need to work in a place like that.”

Youngsters with autistic disorders have limited opportunities to experience work, especially in corporate environments, the Education Partnership points out. But firms like Nomura are now opening the doors to give ‘special needs’ young people the same chance to work in the City as others.

Nomura’s distribution manager David Godbold said: “I’ve got autistic people in my team, so I hope coming here gave the pupils encouragement.”

The Education Partnership has been looking at the types of workplaces that might suit them and finding ways to open doors that might have previously been closed. The school trip was a chance to give them an understanding of what working life can be like and how they can cope in the world of work.