TalkTalk, the UK’s leading value for money connectivity provider, has delivered a huge boost to the employment prospects of autistic young people at its 13th annual fundraising event, Night of Ambition, which has raised £420,000 in aid of Ambitious about Autism.
Research has found that only 16%* of Brits living with autism are in full time paid work representing a £32bn* loss to the UK economy each year – that’s more than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.
To tackle this issue head on the national charity for children and young people with autism has launched a nationwide employability programme aiming to get 10,000 autistic young people ready for work by 2022.
Building on successes in London, Ambitious about Autism’s transformative Employ Autism programme will offer support to autistic young people across the country through access to specialist careers advice and work experience.
Through partnership networks established in key cities across the country, Ambitious about Autism will connect employers, educational institutions, local authorities, specialist agencies, and most importantly young people. Each network will be supported, trained and equipped to help autistic young people transition successfully from education to employment.
TalkTalk will be the lead partner with Ambitious about Autism in rolling out the programme to the North West and leading the call to encourage other North West businesses to join the partnership. Earlier this year the connectivity provider completed the relocation of its headquarters from London to Salford and launched a major recruitment drive across the region.
By breaking down the barriers to employment for autistic young people across the country Employ Autism will change the system, increasing the percentage of autistic people in fulltime employment, and enabling places of employment to be truly neurodiverse.
Jolanta Lasota, Ambitious about Autism Chief Executive, said: “Autistic young people have so much to offer the workplace but devastatingly very few are ever given a chance to prove themselves.”
“Only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time employment – a shockingly low figure we are working to overturn by empowering more employers across the country with the skills and knowledge to work successfully with autistic young people.”
“This work simply wouldn’t be possible without our steadfast partnership with TalkTalk. Through TalkTalk’s expertise, generosity and support we are able to help a generation of autistic young people to reach their employment potential.”
TalkTalk Chief Executive, Tristia Harrison, said: “We’re thrilled to have raised an incredible £420,000 at this year’s Night of Ambition enabling Ambitious About Autism to continue its pioneering work to improve the lives of young people with autism.”
“Encouraging colleagues to be themselves is one of TalkTalk’s core values, so celebrating diversity and providing an inclusive working environment is really important to us. The Employ Autism programme is a truly transformative initiative that will enable thousands of autistic young people to fulfil their potential in the workplace and I would encourage other business leaders to get involved.”
Since 2006 TalkTalk has raised nearly £5 million for Ambitious about Autism, which has enabled the charity to continue its pioneering work to improve the lives of young people with autism across the UK.