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Tuesday 28 September 2021

An autism-inclusive working environment

I’ve struggled a lot in the past with finding suitable and sustainable employment, that I could do without being overwhelmed and uncomfortable due to lack of support and not having the time I need to familiarise myself, get to know colleagues, understand my workload and its place within a wider organisation. 


Finding the Autism Exchange programme 

When I got involved with Ambitious About Autism’s youth participation service, I found out about Autism Exchange – a scheme to give autistic young people an opportunity to gain real, tangible and paid work experience. 

I know that I wanted to do something with a societal benefit and working in the Civil Service or public sector more widely appealed to me. I also had a working interest in project management techniques and wanted to be part of an environment where I could see these in action. I thought this sounded like a very exciting opportunity and the application was fairly straightforward – as I’ve struggled with this step with other applications. 


Feeling lucky to be part of the team 

I was lucky to be placed within the Customer Services team of the Digital Change department in Ofsted, where I was able to gain a lot of skills and gain a ton of knowledge of how they operate, the workings of the Civil Service and their journey to digitalise and modernise the way they work as an organisation. Within my team, I learnt how we can keep improving the experience customers have when they engage with us digitally, which I found very insightful. 

I felt honoured to be part of this team, which has a big impact on not only the rest of the organisation such as easing workload on those who processes registration forms but on customer satisfaction and making the administration behind their important roles in our community, caring for and educating our next generation, as seamless as possible, so they can have a positive experience and encourage others to follow similar career paths. 

I was intrigued to see the modernisation journey in action, to see all of the positive advancements that Ofsted have already delivered and be part of the conversations around the design and implementation of the ambitious stages that the next few months and years will bring. I’ve always had an eye for looking at things critically (in a good way, I hope) and working out how they be made better and was grateful to be in environment with a lot of like-minded people. 


Feeling thankful and focussed on my future 

I’m very thankful for everyone who gave up time to talk to me during my time with the organisation and the insights they provided, which will guide me along my career and the opportunity to support such a relatively small but vital organisation within the Civil Service and arguably, the nation. 

The internship helped give me focus and the strive that I feel will power me into the future of my career. I am currently working a short-term contract for Cardiff Council, promoting the capital to tourists, event organisers and investors. I am continuing with my post-graduate studies and plan to complete training on Agile Project Management and apply to the next intake of the Civil Service Fast Stream. 


About the author 

Leuan, is 25 years old, from South Wales and currently completing his Master of Business Administration at Wrexham Glyndwr University. 


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