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James' story

James is 26 years old and has Autism. He spent some time with our Disability Employment Service, who had a chat with him about his goals and aspirations and what steps he could take to achieve them.
James taking part in his lifeguard competency test

After explaining that he had a keen interest in swimming, our disability employment team supported James to find some volunteering opportunities at his local pool.

While volunteering, James became especially interested in the Lifeguard position at the pool. He went on a swim test with one the Duty Managers and passed with flying colours.

This gave James the tools he needed to take part in a Life Guard training course at the pool and with 4 days of extra training, James received his National Pool Lifeguard qualification.

He’s now on a 12-week work-experience with the swimming pool with hopes that this will lead to permanent employment as a Lifeguard or Leisure Attendant.

His experience at the local pool inspired James to explore more volunteering opportunities. He’s currently taking part in our Volunteer Passport training course at his local adult education centre – which will give him free key training to help with lots of different aspects of volunteering – including training in equality and diversity, safeguarding, health and safety and first aid.

James says that volunteering has helped him overcome difficulties and feel more part of his community:

“Through volunteering I’ve become more confident, learnt new skills, made new friends and feel part of my local community.

“I’m making a difference to people’s lives by encouraging them to be the best they can be.”

James has gone on to volunteer for the Special Olympics as a badminton coach and was recently selected to play badminton at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi – bringing home a bronze medal.