Boats and the sea are Dom’s passion. He holds a full boating licence and is a trained scuba diver. Dom also has autism.

United Response staff found out about Dom’s love for water and boating when they met him just over a year ago. Dom had already learnt how to sail and was in college undertaking a scuba diving course. He was moving out of his family home to live independently and wanted to find himself a job.

Just the job

Although staff knew he had a passion for boats, finding work in that area, especially paid work, proved difficult and so they started looking at expanding Dom’s horizons. They looked at working with computers, shop roles and admin work, but nothing really took Dom’s fancy.

It was while completing the course at the Glacier Academy in Merseyside that Dom was offered a voluntary opportunity that was just up his street: to do up an old boat that was sitting out on the Liverpool Docks in the Academy! He would have a lot of work to do, but once completed, Dom could make some money by using the boat for chartered trips for visitors to the docks.

Using his initiative

Dom sprang into action and was soon going along to the Glacier once a week with new support worker Jo (pictured below).

Since Dom's autism causes him to become restless if he doesn't have enough jobs to do, Jo has been encouraging him to use his initiative while working on the boat, which has worked well and really boosted his confidence.

Dom’s day involves a variety of different tasks, such as cleaning, pulling up the wooden floors of the boat and sanding down the wood. His work has recently extended to cleaning the pool where diving takes place, as well as topping up the water levels and carrying out Health and Safety checks. He’s also started ensuring people are properly prepared for diving sessions.

What Dom says

“Every week now I am given more responsibility around the Glacier,” Dom says. “I have a great time and I feel like I am part of the team and not a volunteer.”

The staff at the Glacier have nothing but praise for Dom and his confidence grows with every visit.

To find out more about our supported employment and volunteering programmes, click here.

Anna Nathanson, design and communications assistant.