Ambitious about Autism recently partnered with the Civil Service to develop a pilot work experience programme for young people with autism following an Employment Summit in 2014, which identified the need to increase support and employment opportunities for people with autism.
In July 2015, four young people with autism took part in the pilot which was delivered in partnership with the Civil Service and supported by the Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC.
One of the young people who took part was an Ambitious about Autism Youth Patron, Thomas Kingston. He is currently in his third year of a Business Law Degree at the BPP University.
When asked why he wanted to take part in this pilot project, Thomas said, “ I have always been interested in the Civil Service, the bigger the organisation the more difficult it can be to deal with adjustments, that made me interested and want to apply. It is always good when companies are proactive.
I didn’t know much about a career in the Civil Service but always had an interest in the running of the country so I thought this would be a great opportunity to find out more.”
Thomas was based within Department for Work and Pension Strategy, Policy and Analysis Group where he supported colleagues with ongoing projects and developed skills in general administration and team work. He said he felt that as a workplace, the Civil Service is diverse, supportive and integrated and that with relatively few adjustments, he could fit into an office environment and fast paced work environment.
He said, “Throughout the two week placement, I found that my health had improved. 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. This was an exceptional opportunity to gain experience at the heart of the UK’s decision making body.”
Ambitious about Autism also supported the young people to deliver autism awareness training to Civil Servants.
Only 15% of adults with autism are in full time employment and this pilot proves that through raising awareness and providing support, people with autism are able to contribute to the workplace and achieve their ambitions.
If you are looking for information to help you get into employment, take a look at the Ready for Work section of Ambitious about Autism’s myVoice project.