Ambitious about Autism rolls out work programme to support more young people with autism into work

Ambitious about Autism, the national charity for children and young people with autism is to roll out its award winning Autism Exchange Programme to businesses across the capital.

The programme, piloted with the Civil Service, and later with Santander and Deutsche Bank, aims to get more young people with autism into the workplace by providing them with the employability skills, work experience and support they need to enter the job market. Currently in the UK, there are 75,000 young people with autism, with only one in six in full time paid employment.

The Autism Exchange Programme will be expanding across London and is looking to recruit employer partners from a range of organisations, including finance, retail, communications and education, to offer work experience and training to young people with autism.

The Autism Exchange Programme aims to develop a unique partnership between young people, employers and post 16 education providers.

Colleges and universities will provide young people with tailored information, training and support to prepare them for their work experience.

Employers will become ‘autism confident’ through training and support provided by the charity, with every manager receiving basic autism awareness training to support them during the programme.

Young people with autism will enjoy a tailored development plan and gain the knowledge, skills and experience to support them into employment by completing work experience placements with the employer partners.

The Minister for Disabled People, Work and Health, Penny Mordaunt, said:

“Businesses have been missing out on the huge talent and insight that people with autism can bring to the workforce, and for too long this group has been excluded from the benefits and opportunities that having a job can bring.

“I urge employers across London to sign up to this innovative programme and continue to build on its success.”

Janet Hill, CBE, Programme Director, Civil Service Disability Inclusion Team, added:

“We are delighted that the Autism Exchange Programme has been so successful and that it is now being rolled out to different organisations across the capital.

“The Civil Service has certainly benefited from having the programme. Our people were able to build their knowledge and capability in working successfully with people with autism. Also, the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm showed by the participants over the last two years has been truly inspiring. It is also very rewarding to know that we have helped to start the careers of several young people with autism who may have never been given the chance before.”

Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said:

“Young people with autism have many of the same hopes and aspirations as everyone else. They want to be part of their community and for many young people this means employment and the chance to make a positive contribution to their society.

“As the Autism Exchange Programme has clearly demonstrated, with the right support, planning and opportunities from employers, young people with autism can learn, achieve and thrive.

“We now hope that other organisations in London from across a wide range of sectors will sign up to the programme and bring more young people with autism into their work place, helping and supporting these young people build fulfilling and successful careers for themselves.”

For more information about the Autism Exchange Programme and how your organisation can join, please email the team at info@ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

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