A charity is extending a scheme to get more young people with autism into work.
Ambitious about Autism plans to roll out the project to businesses across London.
The charity has called the scheme the Autism Exchange Programme.
Ambitious about Autism piloted the venture with the civil service. It later persuaded finance firms Santander and Deutsche Bank to take part.
The charity held a meeting earlier this month with a number of big-name companies. The event took place at the UK Government’s Cabinet Office.
The meeting was held to try to persuade the companies to sign up for the Autism Exchange Programme.
Accountancy firm KPMG, communications group TalkTalk and shopping centre management company Intu were among the companies that attended.
Jolanta Lasota is chief executive of Ambitious about Autism. She said: “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.”
Only one in six in full-time work
Of the 75,000 young people in the UK with autism, only one in six has a full-time job.
The Autism Exchange Programme works with young people, employers and colleges.
Colleges provide young people with training for work experience.
Ambitious about Autism gives training to employers to help them become ‘autism confident’. The training sees every manager go through basic autism awareness sessions.
‘I felt like I had accomplished something’
Thomas Kingston, youth patron at Ambitious about Autism, took part in the charity’s pilot scheme.
The 26-year-old, from Saltburn, North Yorkshire, has autism.
He carried out work experience as a strategy, policy and administration officer with the Department for Work and Pensions.
He said: “My anxiety was reduced because I had a stable routine and I felt like I had accomplished something. I also feel like I’ve had a massive boost in self-confidence.”
For more information about the Autism Exchange Programme and how organisations can join, email firstname.lastname@example.org