A fond farewell has been said to a Prior’s Court trailblazer as she moves on to the next stage of her life.

Young person Ellen transitioned on from Prior’s Court’s Young Adult Provision (YAP) on Monday, 31 August after eight years at Prior’s Court within our School and YAP.

In 2018, Ellen became the first young person at Prior’s Court to also become a part of our paid staffing team, being employed by our Housekeeping team to work within our on-site Laundry Room. Other Prior’s Court young people, who are affected by severe autism and associated complex difficulties, regularly gain work experience with teams across Prior’s Court Foundation, but Ellen was the first to fulfil a paid role.

Ellen has since gone from working one day per week within the service to three per week, testament to her work ethic and skills.

Jo Lovelock, manager of, Bradbury Cottages, Ellen’s residential home at Prior’s Court, said: “We will miss Ellen terribly, but the progress she has made in her time with us has been fantastic.

“Ellen’s paid work placement has given her so much confidence as she would verbalise requests for help, was able to cope with frustrating incidents such as a tumble dryer not working and was able to multi-task – all key skills and experiences she can take with her, hopefully into future work.

“There has also been a significant knock-on effect in other areas of Ellen’s life as on days which she is working Ellen has significantly less, and sometimes even no, behavioural incidents before and after her shift.”

According to the most recent research conducted, in 2016 only 32% of UK adults affected by autism in the UK were in any kind of paid work and only 16% were in full-time paid employment.

Prior’s Court aims to provide our young people with the skills and experience to gain employment with a growing work placement programme. Placements are both with external third parties (a dozen external organisations were regularly providing our young people with work placements pre-coronavirus) and on-site.

Debbie Bradshaw, Head of Housekeeping at Prior’s Court, said: "Having Ellen as a paid member of staff with us is one of my proudest achievements. Her time in my team goes to show just how much our young people can positively contribute to a workplace.

“Ellen would usually work with one of my team and her Autism Practitioner (AP) when in the laundry. But as she became so used to her role, I could borrow my team member if we were short that day and not to have to worry as I knew Ellen and her AP would be able to run the laundry service themselves. With support from her parents, Ellen would also have regular performance reviews, like any other member of the team.

“We will miss Ellen being part of the team, but hopefully the skills she has learnt with us will give her a great opportunity of getting paid work in future which be an amazing achievement.”

Ellen transitioned on to her new provision on Monday, 31 August

To read more about Ellen’s work placement within our housekeeping team, click here.