Thomas Ringrose (21), who is autistic, is a student at Communication Specialist College Doncaster. Here, in our next student voice blog, Thomas, who lives with his family in Wath in Rotherham, gives us an insight into how the college is helping him to reach his full potential.  

I moved from Hilltop School in Rotherham to the Life Skills department at Communication Specialist College Doncaster when I was 19. I stayed there for two years where the team helped me to build my confidence and take part in a number of sessions including learning how to do independent travel, cook group meals and manage social relationships. As well as maths and English Functional Skills at Entry 1.

After that I transitioned up into the main Communications Specialist College Doncaster building where I have been since September 2019. Here, I have been supported by the staff to do some qualifications in motor vehicle work, employability skills, maths and English and IT. The move to the college has made me much more confident and independent as I have to find my own way around and get to lessons by myself.

I have made lots of new friends and like to chat to them on my phone when I am at home and at lunchtimes. Coming to the college every day is exciting as you get to do lots of different things.

I’ve done some work experience at the Sue Ryder charity shop helping to sort out the clothes and put labels on them. I hope one day, with the help of a support worker, to gain more experience in other shops and to increase my confidence at travel.

Outside of college, I enjoy going to the SocialEyes youth club on a Friday and I also play as a striker for a five-a-side football team. I like watching football, too, and support Rotherham United.

All the staff at the college have really helped me to find out what I enjoy doing and then encouraged me to try and do different things that will help me in the future. I would like to work in a shop when I leave college and hopefully get paid. I am really proud of what I have achieved so far.