A FATHER is appealing for businesses to help his autistic son break down personal barriers and get a job.

Teenager James Jeacock adores cricket, football and going to the gym, but his condition means he finds it difficult to make friends or even strike up a conversation.

And finding a job has proved impossible since the 17-year-old left Cherwell School in Oxford more than a year ago.

However, his parents Dale and Lisa have refused to give up hope and issued a heartfelt appeal for a local firm to hire James on a voluntary or permanent basis.

Mr Jeacock, 46, of Mullein Road, Bicester, said: “He needs experience to show him there is more to life than being stuck at home with me. It’s going to be trial and error, it’s not going to be easy, but we are willing to try anything – at the moment he’s got nothing.”

James was diagnosed with high-functioning autism five years ago – he can communicate, but is very quiet. His parents believe his condition was compounded when he was knocked over by a car in Banbury Road when he was 10.

In the collision, his head smashed against the bonnet of the car. Father-of-three Mr Jeacock said: “He was on a life support machine for three days. He had a really serious head injury but no broken limbs.

“That has, we think, left him with a residual head injury. I think it compounded his autism.”

Worse was to come for the family in 2004 when Mr Jeacock was seriously injured in an accident at work on a building site in Northampton when the bucket of a mechanical digger crushed him.

He has not worked since and is waiting for a hip replacement.

James has no formal qualifications, but loves animals and sport, and is willing to try anything, whether paid or unpaid, to give him a purpose in life.

He likes routines and would ideally suit working in a small team.

Mr Jeacock said most organisations said they could not help until he turned 18, while the economic downturn had also made job hunting all the more difficult.

Mr Jeacock said: “When I have the operation and get fitter I can’t leave him home.

“He’s not a danger to himself, but spiritually it’s not good for him. I think the system fails these kids and I don’t think he’s the only person in this position.”

Anyone who can help can call Mr Jeacock on 01869 324009.