31 Aug 2022
He attended RHH Franks in New Milton for a week’s work placement. But the aerospace components company was so impressed with his skills that they offered him a job by the Thursday.
Ethan said: “My supervisor Colin told me that most people who go in for work experience make a metal money box or something like that. I made a water separation system for a fighter jet.”
Ethan developed a passion for all things metal from his steam engine-mad maternal grandfather.
He said: “I completed a first year at Kingston Maurward College in Blacksmithing, Fabricating and Welding, but Covid interrupted my second year. So, I was glad when my coaches arranged work experience at RHH Franks.
“I felt quite comfortable as soon as I got to the Sheet Metal department and just basically started working.
“I could tell Colin was impressed with me. He said he was sure they wouldn’t want to see me go anywhere else and then they called my futures coach, Tom.
“I had a feeling they were going to offer me a job and I’m really pleased.”
Tom, Ethan’s Futures Coach said: “I received an email asking me to go in and found myself in the board room with the operations manager, production supervisor and HR manager. They told me that Ethan was very talented and they wanted to find a way they could offer him a job that wouldn’t interfere with his studies.
“I always knew Ethan would thrive when given the opportunity and this was a very proud moment.”
“Ethan went in to start work the following Tuesday and we will be coming up with a plan whereby he works around his studies.
“RHH Franks says Ethan has a great future in engineering ahead of him and we are not surprised.
“Ethan experiences some challenges in the social side of life and can become anxious in demanding situations. Ethan is also incredibly bright, creative and hard-working and excels when his needs are recognised. It’s great that this company has recognised that and will be helping to develop his talent.”
Colin Willbourne, Sheet Metal Supervisor at RHH Franks said: “From the very beginning of Ethan’s week here in the Sheet Metal department it was obvious that he had enthusiasm, drive, ability and skill and just needed an opportunity to shine and gain practical experience.
“I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to this potential after a week. There is a real need in this industry for young people like Ethan at the moment and I’m sure he has a great future ahead of him with us.”
Our Futures programme seeks to engage and empower young people aged 19-25 to realise their potential and to become active contributors in their local communities, through bespoke learning opportunities, work placements, employability skills and supported housing practice.
Nine new students are already registered to join the project in September.
Autism Unlimited CEO Siún Cranny said: “We have created Futures to prepare young people effectively for adulthood by working with them to take control of their lives and achieve their aspirations.
“We work alongside young people and their families to successfully identify what they want to do in the future and Ethan is a living, breathing example of the success Futures can bring.
“We are looking forward to watching Ethan thrive and to helping even more young people reach their future potential.”