DiversityNE is part-funded
by the European Social Fund and North of Tyne Combined Authority.

'Growing the power and potential of a neurodiverse workforce'

CALLUM Jewell dreamed for years of working for the NHS, an organisation that he says makes him feel “proud”.

Now his wish has come true after landing a job as administrative assistant in the Community Palliative Care team at North Tyneside General Hospital.

Callum, 26, had been unemployed for five years when he signed up with DiversityNE, an employability programme run by the North East Autism Society and Azure Charitable Enterprises with the aim of reducing the disability employment gap.

The personalised programme helped him with social anxiety and built up his confidence to the extent where he could carry out a work placement and then apply for jobs within the NHS.

He says: “I think the NHS is a brilliant organisation. Every time I have needed it, I have been offered high quality care by the NHS, and that is what I have witnessed the Palliative Care staff giving their full effort to provide since working for the team”.

“I thought it would be an organisation that I would be proud to work for and that I would get a lot of job satisfaction from, and I was proven correct.”

Callum, from Gosforth, worked with Employment Adviser Steve Brown at DiversityNE on setting goals, working on his CV and brushing up his IT skills.

The support was invaluable, Callum says: “I think autistic people can have barriers that make it harder for them to get employment than a neurotypical person.

For me it was struggling with social interactions and getting anxious very easily. I think the support and guidance I was given really helped to ease my worries and boost my confidence to the point where I could go through a job interview and succeed.

Callum took his first step into the NHS with a work placement Steve found for him at the North East Ambulance Service headquarters as a post room assistant. It gave him an insight into the NHS and helped him get used to an office environment again.

Steve then helped him apply for jobs, practiced questions and answers with him, and took him to interviews to calm his nerves. It didn’t take many applications before Callum got the role in Palliative Care.

His job involves entering referrals for patients into the system, allocating them to the relevant clinical team, answering general queries from the public and staff, calling patients to organise appointments, ordering uniforms and medical equipment, handling donations and working on data projects for managers.

His manager, Mandy Guthrie, lead administrator for Palliative Care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Callum has been a very positive addition to our admin team, already receiving numerous compliments for the work he does.  He is always punctual, professional and polite. 

“Callum picked up a number of admin processes and new systems very quickly, enabling him to support different teams, including going above and beyond his role to support the district nursing team with data collection and analytics. He recently completed a First Aid training course to become the designated First Aider for one of the wards and also wants to do Fire Warden training.

Callum is an asset to our admin team and has the potential to develop his skills and knowledge to progress within the trust. He has a bright future ahead of him and we are thrilled to have him in Palliative Care.

Steve Brown, his Employment Adviser, paid tribute to how far Callum has come. He says: “Callum’s confidence was extremely low when he was referred to DiversityNE and he found meeting new people and experiencing new environments very challenging.

“Throughout Callum’s time on the programme I could see his confidence growing and his increased independence linked to his work placement and our regular appointments.”

“Callum showed a fantastic attitude towards securing employment and I was so pleased when he was offered the position with Northumbria NHS Trust.”

DiversityNE is a project funded by the European Social Fund and the North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Find out more about DiversityNE