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  • Writer's pictureGerry Monaghan

Morgan finds space to refresh at NOW Group

Reduced pressure and spending some time on personal development have readied our participant for his future steps

Racing at a different pace: Morgan looking fit and healthy

After completing many stressful courses at tech, Morgan from North Down wanted to change gears. Primarily, he wanted to find employment with a business that understands him as a person with autism. NOW Group, as an organisation that specialises in representing the reasonable adjustments that people with learning difficulties and autism require in their journey towards work, was just the place for him.

Wasting no time, our Personal Development Academy was where Morgan got started when he joined us in August 2020. The 12 week eLearning course is made up of three units: Promoting Self Improvement, Personal Confidence and Self Esteem, and Skills for Time Management. Together, these units work to support participants to understand their own wellbeing and how it can be promoted in the workplace.

Coming off the back of his challenges with education and with his future goals in mind, this naturally represented a tidy fit for Morgan and a welcome opportunity for some timely introspection. But it also held a deeper personal meaning.

“I was doing counselling because I wasn’t feeling very confident and was having trouble accepting praise,” he confides. “I wanted to do this class because I wanted to work on these things.”

Having successfully finished the course, Morgan reflects that “class has helped me not to doubt myself so much, and it has helped me in other aspects of my life, too. Even my Mum can see a difference in me!”

What does he feel was the biggest lesson? “I have learned to accept when someone tells me I have done a good job and truly believe it. I feel happier in myself, and I am more confident and secure in what I can do. We keep saying we wish we had joined NOW Group sooner.’’

It is very pleasing to hear that Morgan is now in a much better situation, mentally and emotionally. And it isn’t just his family who have noticed the change.

“In our Personal Development Academy, we are asking participants to unpack things in their lives they’ve struggled with or that they want to work on”, Morgan’s Skills Trainer Emily Downey tells us. “This can be difficult for participants, but it only takes one role model for the rest of the class to start to share their experiences. From the start, Morgan shared about his own strengths and weaknesses and the rest of the class followed.”

Outside of developing his leadership capabilities, how does Emily feel the course will benefit Morgan in the long term? “The skills Morgan and the rest of the class have learned through the Personal Development Academy are going to support them in their personal lives and in their journey towards employment.”

Thrilling news, indeed. And this burgeoning confidence and spring in his step has led Morgan to broaden his horizons with NOW Group. He is now a member of our Fandom group – a social forum for young adults who have a high functioning form of autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. The group meets via Zoom to socialise and carry out activities based around their common interests, including video games. Morgan tells us that he has really enjoyed participating in Fandom, having a laugh and meeting new people in the process.

It is now just over a year since his partnership with NOW Group began, and already it has been a highly successful and productive time for Morgan. He continues to job search for a computer-based role in business administration, working with his Employment Officer, Jordan Wilson, on a weekly basis. Most recently, they completed an application for the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Apprenticeship Programme. We eagerly await to hear the results and what comes next for Morgan.

Interested in learning more about our support services? Give us a call on 028 9043 6044 or drop us an email at Our team is ready to help you into work in 2021.

This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy.

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