At Birmingham New Street railway station, Dan Noon is a customer service assistant and is inspiring others who are autistic like himself to find a path to getting their dream jobs.
Dan has been working throughout the pandemic and has been at work helping people who need to travel to get to work at one of the busiest stations outside of London.
Originally coming to Birmingham New Street in 2014 on work placement, Dan has autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
He had made a big impression on the station team and they asked him in October 2017 if he would stay on a more permanent role.
Birmingham New Street Station has made a partnership with Walsall College where Dan had studied to offer apprenticeships and work experience roles.
With it being World Autism Awareness Day today (Friday, April 2), Dan and Network Rail are highlighting the success to raise awareness for those with learning disabilities.
Dan Noon, customer service assistant at Birmingham New Street, said: “Working at Birmingham New Street is my dream job. Before I started working here, I even had a tour of the old station being redeveloped!
“My job is about public transport – buses, trams, trains – which is one of my hobbies and interests. But it’s also about when things go wrong, and about helping passengers to get from A to B in different situations, including during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The advice I would give to an autistic person looking for a job would be to bring what you’re interested in and enthusiastic about to your role. You’ve got to think ‘I can do it’ – if you think that you can’t, you’re not going to get anywhere.”
Patrick Power, head of stations and passenger experience at Birmingham New Street, said: “It’s been a real pleasure for me personally to have been part of Dan’s development, and to have seen him grow into his role so well has been incredibly rewarding.
“The opportunity to introduce students to a career they might not have considered before and see them excel in roles in the way that Dan has, is extremely gratifying and something we hope to continue to do going forward.”
Katie Fieldhouse, employability team leader at Walsall College, said: “We’re so proud of Dan, and the determination and drive he has shown to be so successful in his new role.
“Dan’s story shows that autism is not a limitation on somebody achieving their ambitions. We want to help all of our students to reach their own goals, and the team at New Street have been so supportive with this over the last few years.”
For more information on Network Rail’s equal opportunities commitment visit: www.networkrail.co.uk/diversity-and-inclusion/
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