Mark Lever with Anderson school students and teacherWe’re delighted to announce the launch of the 'Curriculum Construction Project' at our Anderson School in Chigwell, Essex. Sponsored and run by the Anderson Foundation, supported by Buildbase, the project is aimed at giving the school's students a taster of work in the construction industry. 

Just 16% of autistic adults are estimated to be in full-time paid employment. Our Anderson School is trying to help address this by preparing students for life, further education and employment through tailored support, academic qualifications, vocational courses, including projects like this construction one. 
 
Father and son duo Steve and Andy Hammond, who form part of the training team at the Chelmsford-based Anderson Group, have been fitting out purpose-built workshops in the school so that six students at a time can have their own uninterrupted work area. There are also individual tool boxes for each student all of which, along with all the building materials, have been supplied free of charge by nationwide builder’s merchant Buildbase.
 
Students will learn about site and tool handling safety, the basics of painting and decorating, brickwork and tiling. Rotating through the upper years of the school, all students in years 8, 9 and 10 will spend half a term working on these projects. The plan is that this taster will inspire students to pursue apprenticeships or employment within the construction industry. 
 
Our charity currently runs eight schools, including the Anderson School which opened in September 2017 and which will eventually cater for up to 128 autistic students aged 11 to 19. The school is part of the 13-acre NAS Enterprise Campus that also hosts includes a diagnostic service and an Enterprise Centre (to be opened this academic year). 
  
Gary Simm, Principal of the National Autistic Society’s Anderson School, said: “We have high ambitions for all our students. We want to give each of them as many opportunities as possible to explore future career choices and gain experience in a safe and known environment.
 
“Creating links with industry is central to this. We're delighted to be working with the Anderson Foundation on this exciting project - and grateful to Mark for making it all happen.
 
“Our school has only been open a year, but the students have achieved a huge amount already. We’re growing all the time and with projects like this there’s really no limit to what our students can achieve.”

 
Mark Anderson, Chairman of the Anderson Group and Foundation, added: “The Anderson Foundation continues to pledge its support to the National Autistic Society’s Anderson School, and the construction skills project will go further in getting pupils into the world of work where previously there has been a lack of opportunity.
 
“Steve and Andy, alongside Gary, are doing in this programme everything that the School was set up for: enacting meaningful change in the community.
 
“It’s a privilege to be able to use the Anderson Foundation’s affiliation with the Buildbase to draw upon the resource, expertise and kindness of our partners. A genuine thank you to them, too!”

 
Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, added: “I'm always struck by the huge potential of the autistic children in our schools and want to make sure they're given the platform they need to excel.
 
"This is one of a number of projects we're hoping to launch to give our students experience of careers in different industries. It highlights how partnerships between charities and generous organisations like the Anderson Group and Buildbase can benefit young people on the autism spectrum. We really appreciate their support."

Further information

Find out more about our Anderson School on this dedicated website.