Student thanks City College Norwich for helping him realise his potential

Jared Carpenter at City College where he has achieved a lot despite having autism. Picture: DENISE B

Jared Carpenter at City College where he has achieved a lot despite having autism. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

A student with autism has spoken of how support from City College Norwich has helped him go from being extremely anxious about starting college to excelling in his qualifications and now having ambitions of studying at Cambridge University.

Twenty-two-year-old Jared Carpenter, from West Runton, has won the Outstanding Achievement at AS Award, as well as the Governors' Award for Outstanding Student Achievement at City College Norwich's Further Education Awards.

When he first started at the college Jared said he was so anxious he felt unable to walk around the college campus by himself, but that with the right help he has been able to overcome barriers such as this and has really flourished in his studies.

He said the support he has received since he first joined Phoenix Purple in 2012 has enabled him to aim higher than he ever thought he could achieve. The course is based in the City College's RUG Room designed to enable students with autistic spectrum disorders to progress on to further education and training.

'The support is amazing. Without it I wouldn't be where I am now,' he said. 'When I first started I was just terrified about coming in and now I get excited for every new day. I love coming here.'

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Among the qualifications he has gained are GCSEs in English (C) and maths (A*), AS qualifications in maths (A), further maths (A) and physics (A), and an A* in A2 level maths. He is now in his fifth year at the college and his second year of being a full-time sixth-form centre student, and studying A2 further maths, A2 physics and GCSE biology.

Now he is applying to study mathematics at Cambridge University.

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'In 2012 I did not think I would ever be able to go there,' he said. 'Phoenix Purple has given me self-belief.'

He is passionate about raising awareness about autism and has been involved in developing training in the subject at the college.

'I like the quote that 'when you've met two people with autism you've met two different people with autism'. It's like don't class one person as representing everyone. Like anyone, we are all different.'

Jared especially thanked his mum Debbie Carpenter and Gavin Vogt, one of the college's curriculum services support staff.

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