The Intern

With the help of his family, a radio station, and some NDIS funding, Carl was able to undertake an internship in a radio station. Watch his story here.

Shortly after Carl completed Year 12 at Canberra College (2015) he was awarded the NDIS Outstanding Effort Award for his tenacity, achievements and contribution to the college life.

While at college, Carl became involved in a student radio program and completed an internship in radio production at a local community radio station.

Edited Transcript

Hi, I’m Carl. When I was in Year 11, I got involved with the student radio program and I  really enjoyed it so my media teacher encouraged me to get more involved with the radio station as a volunteer. I found out that it was possible for me to set up this volunteer role as an internship that would count towards my Year 12 certificate. So with some help from my family, my college,  the radio station, and some NDIS funding, I was able to undertake an internship in radio production at the station.

So we contacted the radio station and spoke to them about that. They were very supportive and we discussed some options for just providing Carl with a little bit of extra support to come into that new environment and get comfortable there because it’s a big thing for someone on the autism spectrum to go into an environment that’s different from what they’ve experienced before. So we just felt it would be helpful to have someone to work with him just while he got comfortable there and also someone at the same time who could be helping him build his skills.

By self-managing, we can use our NDIS funds for support from sources that aren’t registered with the NDIS. Otherwise, we’d be limited to just getting support from providers who are registered with the NDIS. So it means that we can draw on people who are already there, who might be already working in an organisation or community group.

So it turns out there’s a radio trainer at the station. We were able to just engage her for a few hours a week and use our NDIS mentoring funds to pay for that additional support.

Now Carl’s really very self-sufficient at the station and he’s become really confident in his skills. He just needed that bridge for a little while to take that step forward.

We have our media trainer, Jenni, who is a fantastic member at 2XX. She conducts all our training for our volunteers and our on-air presenters and producers on a freelance basis.

So with the NDIS funding, we were able to use that on a project that we had specifically in mind for Carl. And we were using in-house resources, so actually taking people who we had worked with who we knew were right for the role. And we could make it our own.

When we heard that there was funding that we could use to employ a person to work with Carl and teach him media skills, radio training, get him a little bit more aware of the media industry and what happens behind the scenes, it made all the difference, because we had a project in mind that we could do with him. There was purpose.

And it was good for us because we got in a new member of staff and we created a bit more of a family for our working week.

One of the things we have to do at 2XX is provide community service announcements because it comes under our license as being a community broadcaster. What we have currently is announcers during our core programs like breakfast, lunch box, and drive time. They have to look through a lot of community events that are happening around Canberra and they do live reads. And there’s no problem with that but, you know, if we have extra hands on deck we like to kind of jazz that up. And then we have Carl who is really interested in doing production work and also has the time and the passion to do it as well. So that was what we got him started on.

Basically, he made it his own. He did a bit of scriptwriting and would take something that seems a bit mundane, like a school fete happening on Saturday, and he would mix in this script with it. And it was really good because now we have more professional content that’s produced. It’s got stings in it,  it’s got a little bit of background music, and that can be played and it kind of gives us an all-around engaging radio voice.

I found working with Carl very rewarding.  I connected with Carl really well, I think. For about the first three or four weeks we were doing community announcements and Carl really, I think, enjoyed that because he started doing some of his fantastic voice impressions. So he was, he was putting his own standpoint too which was really lovely to see.

You know, I just see him grow into the role. I was less there in the later stages. I was there in case something went wrong. Because Carl’s an amazingly fast learner he picked things up really well.

He’s got an across kind of role at 2XX but I can see he loves being on the panels and he’s got a nature for the radio techniques. So I see Carl having a flourishing career as a  radio producer, for sure.

I think he’s going to do fantastic things with radio in the future.