Thursday 1 Apr 2021
Autistic station worker inspires others like him to go for their dream job
A customer services assistant at Birmingham New Street station is inspiring other autistic people like him to find a route into their dream career.
Dan Noon has been working throughout the coronavirus pandemic helping passengers to complete essential journeys safely at Britain's busiest interchange station outside of London
The 27-year-old, who is autistic and has Asperger's syndrome, originally came to Birmingham New Street station on a work experience placement coordinated by supported employment and training charity Landau in 2014.
He impressed the station team so much that he was offered mentoring and support which guided him to successfully land a permanent role in October 2017.
Walsall College, where Dan studied, have since established a partnership with Birmingham New Street station to offer apprenticeships and work experience roles in future.
To coincide with World Autism Awareness Day tomorrow (Friday April 2), Network Rail and Dan are highlighting his success to raise awareness of the training and advice on offer to both job seekers with learning disabilities and potential employers.
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.”
Dan returns to his old college to give motivational talks, and during the pandemic these have taken place virtually on Zoom.
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/
To find out more about Landau and its current 'We See You' diversity campaign visit www.landau.co.uk/-we-see-you-as-we-launch-new-workplace-diversity-campaign/
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.