Lewis Gethen, aged 17, started on a study programme at Stockport training centre in October 2017. He is a looked after child and has had a care order since 2011. Lewis was placed in a care home in Hazel Grove in March 2016 and will reside there for the foreseeable future. 

Lewis has autism. He is very friendly and personable, but he often doesn’t think before he acts and finds it difficult to focus. He loses his temper easily and it can be difficult sometimes to talk him down however, he is getting help with this. The staff at Stockport training centre have worked closely with Lewis to settle him into the programme, and his mood has improved considerably.

Lewis began with a passport programme designed to ease young people into the training centre environment and make some friends along the way. Lewis formed some close friendships, with one friend in particular being a massive support.

Following the passport programme, a study programme was devised for Lewis, consisting of maths, English, employability and retail qualifications plus work experience. Lewis had previously gained some work experience in a charity shop, supervised by his support worker. Lewis had very much enjoyed this placement, so it was agreed that Lewis would again work for Barnardo’s, but this time without support, in a different branch.

Lewis started his placement at Barnardo’s in December and attends every Wednesday. Lewis has made great progress so far and is proficient in merchandising, tagging and decoding. He is now learning how to work the cash register and it has been noted that Lewis is very confident and has excellent customer service skills. 

Helen Saunders Branch Manager at Barnardo’s is very supportive of Lewis, she said: “Overall I am happy with Lewis’ progress and he is a great help to Barnardo’s. I will work with Lewis to help him focus more on tasks and to become less easily distracted.” 

Lewis said: “I have done well so far and the staff are very supportive. I am learning new skills every day!” 

Lisa Shearman, Placement Consultant at Stockport training centre said: “This experience has increased his confidence in himself and his abilities. Keep up the good work, Lewis!”