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Information for young people

Information for young people

Hello! 

Thank you for your interest in the Autism Exchange Programme. I'm sure you've got lots of questions, so we've tried to answer our frequently asked questions. 

If you can't find the answer you need below, please get in contact with a member of our team by emailing exchange@ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

You can go straight to the current opportunities page here

What is the offer for young people with autism?

Our research tells us that 80% of people with autism want to work, but only 16% of people with autism are currently in full-time work. Ambitious about Autism is working to change this through campaigning, influencing decision makers and running award winning employability programmes like Autism Exchange.

Autism Exchange offers young people with autism the opportunity to develop their employability skills and plan for the future through completing work placements with our partner employers. We work in partnership with colleges and universities and employers to ensure young people with autism are supported and prepared along the way.

A young person who takes part in our programme can expect:

1.    To receive careers guidance and support in preparation for applying for a work placement.

2.    Support with the application process so we match you with the right employer.

3.    To complete a work placement with one of our employment partners. This includes on-the-job training and support.

4.    To receive pastoral support. We train employers so they know how to support people with autism and the kind of reasonable adjustments they can make.

5.    Support with planning for the future. Young people are supported to identify their future destinations, whether this is further study, apprenticeships, or paid employment.

What is the benefit for young people?

1.    Skills development. Employers will give you on-the-job skills development which is great for applying for paid work, and is brilliant for your CV.

2.    Increased confidence. Many of the young people who take part report an increase in self-worth and feel more confident and ready to work.

3.    Brilliant experience. All of the young people who have taken part so far say they would recommend the programme to others.

What is the time commitment?

At the start, you will need to be available to complete the application process; in most cases this is a CV or a short application form, and you will also need to be available to participate in an introductory meeting with the employer to see where you work and who you work with.

You will also need to be available to complete your work experience placement. This can last anywhere between two weeks and three months, but it is dependent on the employer and the needs of each young person.

Do I need to be at school, college or university to take part? If so, does my school, college or university need to join the programme if I do?

No. You do not need to be at school, college or university to take part.

We know receiving the right careers advice and guidance is critical for young people when they are preparing for their future. Our research tells us only 19% of young people with autism say they have had good careers advice.

One of the ways Ambitious about Autism is looking to change this is by working with education providers to increase their understanding of autism, and improve their careers advice for people with autism.

If your school, college or university is not taking part in the programme, you can still apply. However, please do tell them about the programme. We would like as many schools, colleges and universities to become partners as possible.

Do you pay for travel expenses and refreshments during the placement?

Most of our placements are paid and therefore the employer will not cover travel expenses and refreshments. If the placement is unpaid, all of our partner employers make a commitment to cover reasonable travel expenses.

Employers do not pay for breakfast, lunch or dinner expenses, as they determine these fall outside of working hours. If you are working early in the morning or in the evening, for example, if you are asked to attend an event, then employers should cover your expenses. This is decided by each individual employer.

Is it only for people who live in London?

At the moment, the programme only operates in London and the Home Counties. However, we hope to secure funding to enable us to expand the programme across the UK.

How old do I need to be to take part in the programme?

The Autism Exchange Programme aims to support young people as they make the move from education into employment. Therefore, we offer the programme to young people with autism aged 18-25.

Can I do the programme more than once?

Our aim is to support young people to develop their employability skills and understand their career goals for the future by supporting them to apply for work placements with employers who have received autism awareness training. The number of placements depends on the needs of the individual.

What will happen to my benefits when I take part in the programme?

Some of our work experience placements are paid. If you have any questions about the impact of taking part in the programme, we would advise you to speak with the Department of Work and Pensions directly, as it will depend on your individual circumstances. You can also speak with us by emailing exchange@ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk.

How much will it cost me?

There is no cost for young people to take part in the Autism Exchange Programme.

Who has taken part so far?

We have already worked with lots of great employers, including the Civil Service, Santander and Deutsche Bank.

What kind of employers work with you?

We know that with the right support and opportunities, people with autism can achieve. We are looking to work with employers from all different sectors, including finance and the arts.

We currently work with a number of banks, including Santander and Deutsche Bank, the Civil Service and television, telecommunications, Internet access, and mobile network services providers like TalkTalk.

Young people complete work placements in many different departments in these businesses, from HR to finance to communications.

How do I apply?

Please visit https://www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk/our-current-opportunities to apply.

Will I get a job after taking part?

The future destination for every young person who takes part in the Autism Exchange Programme is different. For some young people, it might be further education, for others it might be an apprenticeship or paid employment.

Our aim of the programme is to support young people to develop employability skills to prepare them for work, and to work with employers so they have a better understanding of autism.

Some of the young people who have taken part in the programme have been offered paid employment after the placement, but we cannot guarantee this.

Which employers are you working with?

We currently work with a number of different employers including banks, including Santander and Deutsche Bank, the Civil Service and television, telecommunications, Internet access, and mobile network services providers like TalkTalk.

Can any employer take part?

We know that with the right support and opportunities, people with autism can achieve. We are looking to work with employers from all different sectors, who share our values and commitment to working with people with autism and disabilities. 

Our current opportunities

You can find our current opportunities here. Alternatively, if there is nothing of interest to you at this time, please send us your CV so we can let you know about future opportunities - exchange@ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

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