A campaign that aims to get more people with autism into employment has been launched by a national autism charity.
Ambitious about Autism launched its Employ Autism campaign at its national employability event, Employ Autism; From School to Work. The event, held in partnership with Santander, brought young people aged 16-25 years old with autism together with employers to take the first step towards creating a successful transition from education to employment.
Latest figures show that only 15% of people with autism are in full-time paid employment. Many young people with autism have the ability and desire to work, but do not have the opportunities and support in place to do so.
As part of the campaign, employers including Santander, the NHS, Comic Relief and the National Careers Service will take part in autism awareness training, which will be co-delivered by a young person with autism. In addition, young people will be empowered to gain new skills through workshops focusing on interview techniques, coping with stress and anxiety, interacting in the workplace and independence.
Talking about her experience of employment, Georgia, a university student with autism, said: “I enjoy repetitive tasks such as copying data or filing things, am really good at researching, and often find solutions that other people don’t see. These are all good things that I achieve or experience because of my autism, not despite it.”
Jolanta Lasota, chief executive of Ambitious about Autism said, “It’s wonderful that we can bring together young people with autism and some of our country’s biggest employers to increase understanding of autism, increase confidence levels of young people and employers and discuss how we can all benefit from successfully working together. We know that with the right support and opportunities young people with autism can learn, thrive and achieve.”
Graham McKean, head of healthcare and divisional head – Education, Healthcare & Communities at Santander UK SME Banking, which hosted the conference, added: “We are delighted to take part and host such an important event which builds confidence in young people with autism whilst showing business the benefits these youngsters can bring to the workplace. It was great to meet so many talented and enthusiastic young people and we hope the campaign inspires businesses across the UK to consider the support they can provide too.”
Ambitious about Autism is calling for young people with autism, their friends and families, teachers, career advisers, employers, politicians and policy makers to sign up to support Employ Autism to help young people with autism to learn, thrive, and succeed. To pledge your support visit www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/employ-autism.