When Cillian finished school and began on his Real Life Training journey we explored what Cillian’s interests and ambitions in life were together. We learned that Cillian has a huge interest in music technology and IT. Cillian wants to turn that interest into an IT role in a big company where he will earn big money. He wanted to work towards a scuba diving licence and to learn how to drive. Cillian’s first year in RLT was largely around us facilitating Cillian to identify and progress his areas of interest.
We supported him to learn and form foundations from which Cillian can hopefully go on to fulfil his long- term goals. Cillian engaged with some classes in music technology, which included live drumming sessions – with Cillian on the drums! This enhanced Cillian’s learning in music technology and also confirmed his passion for music.
Cillian also completed a series of ‘journey to work’ and skills classes. This is a foundation piece to prepare a person for accessing employment. Cillian reflects that some of it was useful - “but I was keen to progress quickly into applying for jobs and the world of work”.
While Cillian applied for a job in a local supermarket but was not successful, he found the learning from the process very useful and it prepared him for future interviews. He feels more confident now that he is aware of the types of questions that might be asked. While Cillian was looking for a part- time job he took on a series of work experiences in the technology field. Firstly, he completed work experience with an electronic sales and repair hop. Cillian said that this was an ok starting point for gaining insights into the world of work in this area – but wasn’t a job that he wanted to continue in…
As part of his work experience Cillian has also been doing “IT School support – Technician’s Assistant one day a week for 9 months. Going in to fix people’s computers.” Cillian said: “I’ve learnt a lot about all sorts of things including: Projectors, TV’s and screens”. Also, in his first year of RLT, Cillian passed his driver theory test. He said “this was the biggest thing I’ve done so far”.
Cillian identified that he wanted further support around his dyslexia. WALK facilitated him to engage in a mainstream classroom course supporting people to work on their dyslexia. He remembers that it was hard and not enjoyable to be in a classroom. He said the experience was not a waste because it helped him realise that his learning style is much more suited to doing “practical stuff”.
Cillian recalls a Youth Exchange he took to Spain with his mates. He said, “we went to visit different places. I learnt that in Spain if you have a disability you can’t vote - which isn’t fair! I also learnt that you can communicate with other people without speaking the same language. We had a laugh with the Spanish students and found out about each other - even if we didn’t speak the same language”.
Cillian was also happy to have started working on a PADI scuba diving course. WALK is supporting him to study towards the theory part of the course so that he will be able to do the exam. Cillian has been using some of his spare time to travel to Lanzarote to practise diving and has a diving partner who he trusts and works well with there. He will complete the practical element of the Diver’s Licence in Lanzarote.
Cillian has a great sense of natural justice. He was glad to be invited to a National Transport Authority meeting to put his views forward on the new buses they were introducing. He put forward his ideas on the new buses. However, he did not feel like the National Transport Authority listened to his point of view. He said it was important as it was a point of view that would be representative of other people with disabilities. So, afterwards he wrote an article about his views on the subject and had it published in WALK’s newsletter and website. He also sent it to the National Transport Authority.
Cillian says he is generally enjoying the sense of freedom he has since leaving school. He is enjoying exploring the world of work, but is keen to progress into a role with a bigger company and to develop further skills in areas he is interested in.
We eagerly watch this space!