He started at North Yorkshire residential school Breckenbrough when he when he was nine, having struggled at other primary schools due to his Asperger’s syndrome.
The support and flexibility offered at Breckenbrough helped him to cope and Jonathan was able to develop his interest in electronics. He went on to study GCSE science at Breckenbrough and felt great pride in achieving grade A* in science. And after progressing further in his education and graduating from Teesside University’s BSc (Hons) Software Development last year, Jonathan has been involved in a work experience internship with Eaglescliffe electronics firm Carroll & Meynell.
Jonathan’s supportive mum Lorraine says the continued support offered by Teesside University has been instrumental in helping her son to work towards his aim of working in computing. Lorraine, of Norton, said: 'We'd always hoped Jonathan would go into higher education and we were really heartened when he started at Teesside University as he was able to tailor his study and chose what he was really interested in, which really helped him to progress.
During his degree the University found him a two-week work trial as a software developer with a small company and secured him the graduate internship as a software engineer. The company he's been with is perfect as they make transformers and he’s very knowledgeable about their product and extremely interested in computing and electronics.
Jonathan has really enjoyed the internship as it has enabled him to put into practice everything he’s learned, while also providing an opportunity to experience what the working world is like.”Lorraine added: 'Teesside University has been so supportive. He is able to access the University's careers service for two years and he's taken part in one-to-one sessions focusing on interview techniques.
'During the degree there was always a point of contact to provide a direct link to a member of staff, which really helped to know there was a person there if needed.'Jonathan said: 'I really enjoyed the degree - it was a really positive environment. I’ve always been interested in computing and electronics and the internship has been really interesting as it involved producing software for equipment and databases.'He was initially given a three-month project at Carroll & Meynell which involved creating a new user interface software program to automatically collect data from a transformer test rig and store it to a database, while also developing a new database to allow for greater flexibility of data collection.
Stephen Hawkes, design engineer with Carroll & Meynell, said: 'Both projects were assigned to Jonathan, as they are interdependent on each other. In retrospect the twin project was probably ambitious for the three-month time line for the work experience sponsorship, so Jonathan has had his employment experience term extended for a further six weeks to complete both aspects of the work in full.'
He added: 'Jonathan's progress to date has been good and he has overcome several software issues relating to the instrumentation communication ports. The new database has been created and he is currently in the process of starting to test the interface and storage of automatically generated test data. Once this is complete he will move on to report production phase of the project.'
Along with Jonathan, Teesside University has continued links with Breckenbrough as two graduates teach there. They are sports and exercise graduate Adam Price, who teaches PE and music and sports psychologist Emilia Frith, who each year takes on a doctoral student from Teesside University. This year it's Phd student Erika Filova, from Slovakia.