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Gants Hill higher education institute teams up with autism charity Sycamore Trust

PUBLISHED: 07:30 15 July 2020

Sycamore Trust will refer suitable service users to the LSME foundation programme, where they will receive individual training for a year ahead of possible entry into higher education. Picture: Sycamore Trust

Sycamore Trust will refer suitable service users to the LSME foundation programme, where they will receive individual training for a year ahead of possible entry into higher education. Picture: Sycamore Trust

Sycamore Trust

Autism charity The Sycamore Trust has joined forces with The London School of Management Education (LSME) in Gants Hill to launch an exciting project designed to help those with spectrum disorders into higher education.

The London School of Management Education in Gants Hill has teamed up with autism charity Sycamore Trust on a project designed to help service users from the trust into higher education. Picture: London School of Management EducationThe London School of Management Education in Gants Hill has teamed up with autism charity Sycamore Trust on a project designed to help service users from the trust into higher education. Picture: London School of Management Education

This year-long collaboration will see LSME tutors work with people referred by the trust, aiming to ready them for life at college or university.

Hassan Shiffau — chief research and innovation officer — says this link-up will be invaluable to those who may fall through the cracks of the conventional education system: “Our aim is to help people from disadvantaged backgrounds whose chances of going into higher education are much lower. We trying to bridge that gap by giving them more individual training.”

For those with autism and other spectrum disorders, Hassan believes this period could be crucial to making an individual feel that they can progress with their goals.

The LSME aims to work with 10 students each year, with smaller classrooms in place to overcome the potential risk of feeling overwhelmed.

Once referred, the student is enrolled onto a certified foundation programme with the LSME for free.

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He or she is given a bursary for travel, with suitable arrangements made should there be issues with solo travel.

Hassan says this project is perfect for those who “could go onto higher education with the right help”.

This collaboration has been welcomed by Sycamore Trust, which works with people of all ages across Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham.

The charity’s project co-ordinator, Nikki Murphy, said: “People with disabilities can often come up against barriers that prevent them from accessing higher education opportunities, such as degree level qualifications.

“Barriers come in many forms, for example, not having the right qualifications to progress, being unable to travel independently, needing one-to-one support in a class, or needing an advocate to help understand and express your ideas.”

Nikki describes this as a “fantastic opportunity” to help people with autism reach their full potential, not simply by overcoming barriers, but by breaking them down completely.

For further information, contact nikki.murphy@sycamoretrust.org.uk or the trust on 020 8517 9317.


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