Many of the UK’s 75,000 young people with autism today have little prospect of work, despite the fact that 99% of them want a job. Currently, there are few work placements or apprenticeships available to them and careers advice is at best patchy. Little wonder then that only 15% of people with autism are in full and paid employment.
Today Ambitious about Autism, the national charity for children and young people with autism, is calling for a step change to give young people with autism a fighting chance of getting a job by improving their transition from school and college into the workplace. They are calling for young people with autism to get the right education, advice and work experience opportunities to prepare for their transition into work; and for employers to have the understanding and will to support this transition.
We would save £9 billion per year across the UK if we supported people with autism to access employment.
The charity is launching its campaign, Employ Autism on April 2nd to coincide with World Autism Awareness Month.
“I am delighted to support Ambitious about Autism’s Employ Autism campaign. With the right support and opportunities, young people with autism can join the work force and make a brilliant contribution to their local communities.
“I urge all local schools, colleges and employers in Romsey and Southampton North to support young people with autism and ensure that they have the same access to training and employment possibilities as other people of the same age. I would encourage everyone to sign up to support the Employ Autism campaign.”
Jolanta Lasota, Chief Executive of Ambitious about Autism, said:
“Young people with autism tell us that there are limited opportunities for good careers advice, training or work and this is not good enough. They desperately want to build a future for themselves but the support they need just isn’t there and the worst thing is that they are losing hope.
“By making training and work opportunities available to young people with autism, these changes could bring huge benefits to UK employers as well as to the lives of young people with autism and their families.”
Just 19% of young people with autism say they have had good careers advice.
Ambitious about Autism believes that young people with autism should have access to high quality relevant and tailored careers guidance and this change should start at the National Careers Service (NCS). The charity wants to see the NCS lead the way in developing a much improved careers advice service for young people with autism and for others who have other special educational needs.
According to research by Ambitious about Autism, less than one in four young people with autism access education beyond statutory age. The charity believes that all of these young people should have access to high quality education which could bring opportunities on leaving school. This would equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to enter the world of work.
The charity wants to see employers play their part too by offering meaningful work experience placements, apprenticeship and traineeships to young people with autism. A quarter of young people with autism have had no access to work experience, and only 15% of young people with autism believe that employers are likely to offer someone with autism a job. By undertaking autism awareness training, the employer would be better equipped to support these young recruits. Evidence shows that with just a little support, enormous benefits can be gained by bringing young people with autism into the workplace and employers see positive impacts to their bottom line.
Sign up to support the Employ Autism campaign at www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/employ-autism
To see the Employ Autism campaign summary and for details of how to support the campaign visit: www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/employ-autism