Ambitious about Autism has officially launched what it bills as the first college of its kind in London. It’s a special facility dedicated to providing further education to young people with complex autism.
The charity invited Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, to open the new establishment.
Named Ambitious College, its role is to improve training for people with complex autism.
Difficulties getting into training
The charity said that individuals who have a complex form of autism normally face difficulties getting into training after school. The consequent lack of training reduced their chances of a fulfilling adulthood.
The charity named the Ambitious College site the Pears North London Campus. It is based at the College of Haringey, Enfield, and North East London (CONEL), in Tottenham.
The official opening followed the college taking its first pupils in September 2016.
There is a second Pears Campus, which is based at West Thames College in Isleworth. Ambitious about Autism called it Pears West London.
The charity named both sites after Ambitious College’s lead partner, the Pears Foundation. This is the philanthropic arm of property company the William Pears Group.
Only one in four progress beyond school
Jolanta Lasota is chief executive of Ambitious about Autism. She said: “Only one in four young people with autism progress beyond school to any form of education or training.”
Lasota said the statistic prompted the charity to establish Ambitious College. Every young person with autism “has a fundamental right to an education,” she added.
Conor May, from London, is one of the students at Pears North London Campus. He got the chance to carry out work experience at the RAF Museum.
He said he “really enjoyed” the work and hopes to do more.
Charity aims to raise another £1 million for college help
As well as Timpson, several other VIPs attended the official opening. They were David Lammy, MP for Tottenham; Catherine West, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green; and Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney.
Ambitious about Autism aims to raise £4.4m for more young people to get training. It needs a further £1m to hit its target.