Thomas' Story

Image of young man wearing a hat

Thomas, 21 from Bury has come on leaps and bounds since joining the programme in August 2016.

Tom, who has autism, was struggling to find work due to general anxiety, social anxiety and a lack of work experience.

Four months later, Tom had completed the Prince's Trust Team Programme, a Creative Media Course at PANDA Arts and is much closer to the world of work.

When Tom first met his Talent Coach, Hayley Bancroft from Groundwork BBOR, he was about to finish the Prince's Trust course and very worried about what he would do after it had finished. He was concerned about going back to being on his own.

After completing his BTEC in Creative Media at Bury College, Tom had a long period of unemployment before he met Hayley.

Hayley worked with Tom to build his confidence in a number of one-to-one sessions. Tom then took part in a number of team building activities, hosted by Groundwork BBOR, with other young people on the programme.

Having a keen interest in creative media, Thomas then joined PANDA's Creative Breaks training programme, delivered in partnership with Union Street Media Arts - an annual 3 month career development programme.

The programme supports participants to work in teams to deliver a live brief.

During the training, Tom learnt about the skills and qualities needed to work as a freelancer in the arts or voluntary sector. The training took the form of workshops and hands on experience and covered everything from media campaigns, community development, social change, digital marketing and project management.Image of young man wearing a hat and holding a certificate

In addition to giving gaining experience in creative media, Tom’s confidence also increased. During his time on the programme the rest of his team voted for him to win Creative Breaks Peer Award for Outstanding Progress.

He said, “The course was quite difficult but fun. I really enjoyed doing it. I also gained a certificate and a trophy.”

Tom’s Talent Coach, Hayley said, “Tom has done really well on the course. He had a few barriers around travel expenses but we were able to support him to overcome those and he was able to continue and complete with the course”

Anne-Marie Crowther is a Director at PANDA. She said, “It was great to see Thomas blossom through the Creative Breaks programme. His attention to detail and visual approach helped his team create a high quality and engaging film on the Rochdale Pioneers Museum. He become a popular & respected member of the cohort, who voted almost unanimously for him to receive the Creative Breaks Peer Award for Outstanding Progress.”

Anne-Marie continued, “We believe he could have a promising career ahead of him in film-making and the creative industries and hope that he remains part of our professional network so he can continue to access industry support and connections.”

Read more stories from people involved in Greater Manchester Talent Match by clicking here.