ProgressNE is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund with the North of Tyne Combined Authority as the lead authority. 

Removing barriers to create a fair, inclusive and accessible community.

A Wallsend man is on his way to a new career after receiving support from ProgressNE to prepare for his apprenticeship with the NHS.

20-year-old Owen Bradley self-referred to the employability programme run in partnership by the North East Autism Society and Azure Charitable Enterprises, and started receiving support from Employment Advisor Gary Hankinson in January this year.

 Gary said: “The main thing Owen wanted was some information and advice around positive disclosure and reasonable adjustments, because he had an appointment coming up with occupational health.”

We compiled a list of things he felt he might need support with that he could then discuss on his occupational health appointment with the occupational therapist. He felt that they understood what his needs would be, and everyone was happy.

Owen received an unconditional offer of a place on a senior healthcare support worker apprenticeship, a level 3 qualification that means Owen could oversee a team of six other healthcare workers after completing his apprenticeship.

To make sure Owen could easily get to work, ProgressNE provided support to help him gain the skills needed to travel independently using public transport.

Owen had planned to make practice bus journeys with his mum, but a scheduling conflict led to Gary stepping in to ensure Owen could receive the travel training he needed.

Owen said: “The first time we did it, Gary went over to my house, and he walked us up to the bus stop."

He told me what time it was going to get there, what number bus it was going to be, which was difficult at first, and what to say when I got on.

“The next week I did by myself with him following us, so I could check in with him on the phone, then that went fine, so that was good because I could ask him what bus I needed to see to get back,” Owen said.

Gary added: “He flew from there. He’s done two trips with me on the bus and one independent, and he feels he’s got it cracked.”

Owen was set to start his role in March, with ongoing support from ProgressNE available if he needs it.

Owen said:

There’s still a lot to figure out, but I’m excited to actually start.

ProgressNE provides personalised support to economically inactive people living in Newcastle, Northumberland, and North Tyneside, who are neurodivergent, have learning difficulties or disabilities, or are experiencing poor mental health.

Find out more about ProgressNE website