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NAS pilots initiative to help people with autism find work

Prospects, The National Autistic Society’s (NAS) recruitment service is piloting a 28-week into work course for adults with autism called Preparation for Employment (PfE).

The news comes after NAS found a mere 15% of adults with autism are currently in full-time employment, despite the fact that most are willing and able to work.

The Society's research suggests difficulties in finding and keeping a job arise from the lack of available training, advice and practical support that is autism-specific.

PfE will cover employment issues that can form barriers for individuals with autism and aims to get all participants into paid work by the end of the 28 weeks.

David Perkins, manager of Prospects, said: "We know that the vast majority of adults with autism in the UK want to work, but experience great difficulty in finding and staying in employment, often due to inadequate support and misunderstandings related to their condition. We are delighted to be able to run this course, which will help more people with autism fulfil their potential. With the right support, at the right time, people with autism can lead rewarding and fulfilling lives."

The first 6 weeks involve a series of group workshops and one to one sessions looking at disability awareness, occupational choice, social and communication skills, confidence building, anxiety management, job finding techniques, interview skills.

In stage two of the programme Prospects will find and secure a suitable unpaid work experience placement for each person. At the end of the course, they will assist and support the individual through the job finding process and into employment.

Nathan Clark, a participant on PfE, said: "I have enjoyed working with the other people on the course and it has helped me to develop my understanding of my disability and how it can have an effect in the workplace. It has also helped me to find a suitable work placement, which I hope in time will eventually lead me to a full-time job along with the crucial experience it will inevitability give me."