The leading headline for the event was ‘only 15% of people with autism are in full time paid employment’, and it was my own personal role to ensure the day flowed smoothly and ensure that everyone who did speak was given the encouragement they deserved. As Compere, though it’s more of a functional role, I help to set the scene for the day and the picture of what is to come. It is after all my face that most will see from start to finish! Whether this is in respect of introducing and thanking speakers or simply giving directions to the nearest restroom, having an event to promote employment has to ensure those who are centre stage look as though they can be work ready.
I feel confident in saying that the outcome of the day was an enormous success and a strong launch pad to kick off the campaign on a much larger scale in the Spring. Following from Santander’s, our venue host, experience in identifying one of the employees as being on the autistic spectrum and ensuring that he was not at risk of dismissal because of his condition, there is much good practice for employers to draw on to support the needs of people who need it. Despite the demands of being a Compere, I still managed to drop by the various workshops during the day and hear about some of the upcoming initiatives, like Place with Purpose, centred around building new support for those with autism to enter work.
There is more news to come yet, and this conference only marks the start of that road to making that 15% figure history.