Studies have shown that transport problems can be a significant barrier to social inclusion, and in turn, employment. We want to ensure that this is not a barrier to the young people working with us on Engage to Change. People with a learning disability and/or autism may need the support of travel training as a means of overcoming a lack of skills or confidence in navigating the journey to and from work.
What is travel training?
Travel training covers a wide range of assistance and support provided to anyone who may require it. It is a series of processes aimed at ensuring an individual is able to make a journey independently and safely.
New skills may need to be taught such as:
• Reading a timetable
• Keeping safe
• Telling the time
• Appropriate behaviour
• Money skills
Job coaches from ELITE and Agoriad travel train the young people they are working with as part of Engage to Change. They must be excellent communicators and have the ability to understand others’ needs, in particular the needs of vulnerable populations. The trainees’ existing travel skills and difficulties will be assessed at the vocational profiling stage. This allows us to build a training programme around an established baseline, tailored to each individual. This programme could involve road safety, personal safety, money skills, time skills, communication skills, and so on, depending on individual need.
Accompanied travel will form the main part of the travel training. At first the job coach will join the trainee on the route from beginning to end. Repetition will enable the trainee to learn the route and to build their confidence. The number of repetitions will be entirely dependent on the individual and their progress before the shadowing stage can begin and the job coach can begin to gradually withdraw. The withdrawal process happens in stages, with continuous assessments undertaken at each stage. The first stage may be a case of walking at a safe distance behind the trainee, the second may be to meet the trainee at the bus stop, and so on. The final stage is when the trainee is able to complete the journey on their own in a safe manner.