Autism and anxiety no barrier for Worlingham teenager as he lands his first job

Josh Southgate, 19, who has landed a job at Tesco in Beccles. Picture: Ten Group

Josh Southgate, 19, who has landed a job at Tesco in Beccles. Picture: Ten Group - Credit: Ten Group

A teenager has shown he will not let autism and anxiety consume him, by achieving a huge personal ambition.

Josh Southgate, 19 of Worlingham, has landed a job at Tesco's in Beccles, despite previously feeling as though his condition rendered him unemployable.

He said: 'Who would have thought four years ago that I would have got a job and be where I am now. I'm just really proud.

'I want to say a huge thank you to my grandparents for how well I've done - without them I wouldn't be where I am today.'

It was with their help, as well as the support of City College in Norwich that he was able to conquer his anxiety and get himself ready for the workplace.

When he started college at 16, he found the classroom environment increasingly difficult to cope with, and would often just leave the room.

However, after being introduced to more active learning and work experience, he was able to build up his confidence and manage his anxiety.

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As part of his course, he was able to develop new skills and build up an impressive CV through work experience placements at Somerleyton Hall, Blicking Hall, White House Farm in Sprowston and the YMCA Stepping Stones Café in Norwich.

In September 2015, he was presented with a further education award at the college, in which he gave a memorable speech.

He said: 'I feel happy how and have got so much to look forward to. I have started to realise that I do have a future and that being autistic will not stop me having a good life.'

Amanda Bushall, people manager at Tesco Beccles, said: 'Josh's confidence has grown beyond measure since he joined us here and it is wonderful to have been able to offer him his first position.'

Sarah Softley, job coach at City College, said: 'Josh developed an awful lot during his time at college, improving his confidence, work skills and all round self-esteem.

'You couldn't find a more willing worker.'

He managed to secure his job after impressing during an enthusiastic spell on work experience at the store last November.