Luke Bush is a 22-year-old with a passion for films.
He can tell you about all sorts of different movies from the past to the present day and has always wanted a job which involved working with films and film-making.
But there was one stumbling block which has made it harder for Luke to fulfil his dream than others: Luke is autistic.
People with autism have often found it harder to get a job.
However, with support from the dedicated team at Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Local Supported Employment Service, Luke has achieved his dream and is in a job that he loves.
With Luke’s hard work and with guidance from his support officers, Luke, from Ellesmere Port, is now a cinema assistant at the Storyhouse in Chester and he doesn’t see that changing. “In the future I might just stay at Storyhouse, I am very happy here,” he said.
The team at the Local Supported Employment Service works closely with Luke to support all aspects of his life, such as his housing needs and social and emotional issues.
Luke’s employment support officer acts on his behalf and offers impartial support when he faces issues in work. He was having trouble recently accessing and reading internal emails but found it difficult to talk about it with his manager. He was able to confide in his support officer from the council who acted as a go between and sat down with him to solve the issue.
Luke said: “If I am alone and I don’t know what I’m doing I have someone who can help me out. The council team are very good at helping me. They help me if the job is not going right, or if I am not doing very well. In the future I might be able to do all of this on my own but we will see.”
When Luke finished school he was not sure what he wanted to do so, rather than stay at college for another year, the team at the council began working with him and moved him onto supported internships, working for a charity shop.
Luke said: “When I worked at the charity shop I thought to myself that it wasn’t the right job for me, so I thought of theatre, cinema and films and that is what I am into.”
Luke first joined Storyhouse through Young Film Programmers project two years ago, which teaches young people the skills to become film programmers, curators and event mangers. He moved onto a supported internship at Storyhouse and the Local Supported Employment Service has helped prepare Luke for paid employment.
Donna Collings, cinema manager at the Storyhouse, said: “Luke has taken over a cleaning log for me. The type of jobs that are routine, the jobs that need to be done. Luke does them better than everybody else. Every time there is a new tear or stain, Luke will log that. There are lots of jobs like that, which are a great help with Storyhouse. I feel lucky to have Luke on my team.
“The feedback from the customers to Luke has been really wonderful. When they have asked him for help he is able to give them information straight away. He likes to support and be helpful with customers. He is very good at working with lists and logs so he does work for me which is essential. “Some jobs are about routine and he likes that so he is the guy to give those jobs to. His confidence has grown and if we give him a new job to do he won’t freak out like he used to and will get on with it.”
Luke has a word of advice for other autistic people like him who may be lacking confidence about getting a job. He said: “The council can help other people too if they don’t know how to get a job. The council will contact people to see if they need any help.”
Councillor Paul Dolan, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “The Local Supported Employment Service at Cheshire West and Chester Council is a vital lifeline for people with autism who have a passion to get a job but need support and guidance along the way.
“Employers who are looking for new staff who are focused and hard-working would have a perfect candidate if they considered taking on someone with autism. Our caring team of employment support officers will help the employee succeed in a full time position.”
To get in touch with the Local Supported Employment Service, contact LSES@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk or call 0151 356 6665.