From education to employment

Partnership between CONEL and Ambitious College will give young people with autism ‘a real chance’

A new specialist day college for young people with autism supported by The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) officially has opened.

Ambitious College is run by the charity Ambitious About Autism, and aims to equip learners with knowledge, skills and experience they need to live, work and contribute as part of their communities.

The new Pears Campus, located at CONEL’s Tottenham Green Centre, opened its doors to learners in September 2016 and currently provides further education and training for more than 30 students aged 16 to 25 on the autistic spectrum.

Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP, opened the college on 30 March, in the run up to World Autism Awareness Month in April.

He said: “It is a real pleasure to come and open Ambitious College today and meet the young learners, their parents and staff. The college is doing amazing work in terms of providing learners with the vital support they need to access learning and employment opportunities as well as preparing them for adulthood.”

CONEL will be working with the charity to provide students from Ambitious College with the opportunity to access vocational learning and social opportunities alongside their peers.

Sparking at the event, CONEL Principal Andy Forbes said: “We are the main chance for many young people, and for this particular group of young people this is a real chance not just for them to get an education that will help them to be the person they want to be in their lives, but to prepare to be a productive members of society.”

Former CONEL Principal Paul Head was passionate about supporting the charity and instigated the partnership before he passed away after a battle with cancer in 2014.

At the opening, Ambitious College Principal Vivienne Berkeley announced a Learner Achievement Award would be named in Paul Head’s memory.


The event was also attended by Trevor Pears from the Pears Foundation, the lead partners of Ambitious College, Tottenham MP David Lammy, Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West and the Deputy Mayor of London, Joanne McCartney, who is also Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey andresponsible for education and childcare.

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said: “The opening of Ambitious College is a very exciting chapter in our history and I would like to thank the Minister for coming along today and sharing this very important day with us.

“Only 1 in 4 young people with autism progress beyond school to any form of education or training. This statistic gave us the impetus to establish Ambitious College as we believe every young person with autism has a fundamental right to an education which is key to transforming their lives. With the right support, young people with autism can learn, thrive and achieve and go on to lead independent and fulfilling lives.”

For further information about Ambitious visit

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