An artistic Camberley man has secured his dream job thanks to a Surrey Choices service that helps people with disabilities to find employment.
Ryan Medlock is a talented illustrator – who also happens to be autistic.
Despite holding a first class honours degree in illustration and a masters degree in children’s book illustration, Ryan had struggled to find work for years after graduating.
But since being referred to Surrey Choices EmployAbility service, Ryan has now found a job that enables him to do exactly what he loves.
EmployAbility is a dedicated service that helps adults with autism or a learning, physical or sensory disability to find work placements, training, volunteer opportunities and paid work.
The service has helped Ryan to secure various pieces of work as a freelance illustrator, including a spell with website design firm, Thunderbolt Digital.
The 30-year-old is currently working as a freelance illustrator for Surrey Choices, creating a series of animations for an activities programme for younger people.
EmployAbility employment support officer, Jessica Williams, said she had taken great satisfaction in being able to help Ryan achieve his ambitions.
“We work with a variety of people at EmployAbility, offering job coaching and a supported employment service,” said Jessica.
“Ryan had been out of work for a long time after graduating and it was largely down to his autism. He was referred to us via his adult social care practitioner, who recognised that we might be able to help. I have been able to work with him over the past year to help him secure paid, freelance employment.”
Jessica said that whilst Ryan was a talented illustrator, his autism meant that he sometimes needed help communicating with his employers.
“I attend meetings with him and write up notes to ensure he understands what has been asked of him,” she said. “We have also been able to help him to attend a job club, which has been a massive achievement for him, as he doesn’t always like being in a room full of people.
“Our aim at the EmployAbility service is to gradually step back once people have found work and are comfortable with their jobs. Ultimately, we hope to empower them enough to allow them to do their jobs with minimal input from us – although we’re always here as and when needed.
“It has been incredibly satisfying to help Ryan. It’s great to see him happy and enjoying a job he’s always dreamed of doing – and getting paid for it too,” she added.
Ryan’s parents, Pete & Michelle Medlock said: “Ryan has expressed himself in illustrating from a very young age due to his disabilities. It’s been extremely rewarding for Ryan and a huge boost to his confidence being given the opportunity, with the hard work from Jessica Williams and Surrey Choices, to show case his work. We are very grateful to Jessica for her assistance, and of course we are proud parents.”
Surrey Choices managing director, Simon Laker, said: “Ryan’s story is a timely example during World Autism Awareness Week of how, with the right kind of help and support, people no longer have to be defined by their disabilities. He has undertaken some excellent work for us – he’s clearly very talented and I’m sure he will continue to do well in the future.”
To see more of Ryan’s illustrations visit his blog page
Take a look at our summer activities booklet illustrated by Ryan.