The Autism Partnership Working Group on Employment met from 2015 to 2017. Its initial purpose was to enable members (autistic adults, carers/families of autistic adults, professionals) to discuss further what the issues facing autistic people and their carers/families are in regard to employment and to identify priorities for action within Sheffield, and the barriers to progress ( identifying if possible to overcome such barriers). Sylvia Johnson, the leader of this group provided a summary below of some of the work of this group. To download the minutes of the Group’s meetings November 2016 to July 2017, see the bottom of this page.
The workstream held several meetings and met a group of autistic adults to seek their views on the challenges of gaining employment.
The group identified 4 priority areas all aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of autistic adults by significantly raising the number of autistic adults who secure appropriate work or work experience and then stay in work/work experience.
- Clear leadership and supportive networks
- Engagement with the business/employer community (private, public and voluntary sectors) and with recruiters (recruitment agencies, government work programmes).
- Expansion of personalised support for seeking, gaining and retaining employment
- Clear information and guidance
These issues are discussed in more detail below and priorities for action were then developed, phased as short-term, medium term and long term.
Key areas of work to focus on
- Clarification of who has responsibility for improving employment of adults on the spectrum throughout the city and leadership of this
- Improving information and guidance for adults and their families/carers about how to prepare for employment, gain appropriate work experience, work placements, work trials, rights and expectations for adults in different categories
- Raising the number of adults in work and securing appropriate work, staying in work and gaining work experience
- Improving the understanding and acceptance of those on the spectrum by employers and recruiters, showing them the benefits of employing adults on the spectrum and supporting them to improve their recruitment and selection processes
- Sharing best practice over employment of adults on the spectrum with employers and recruiters, training and support providers, SCC, adults and their families
- Identifying Sheffield (and region) employers who will participate in supporting autistic adults
- Identifying the benefits and cost savings of increasing the numbers of adults on the spectrum who are in work
- Clearer role needed for clinicians, assessors and other staff (eg through commissioning, contracts etc) to include employment in their consideration
- Clear identification of key individuals within SCC, Health Authorities and Clinical Groups who can make decisions and authorise funding.
- Insufficient opportunities for work experience, work, work preparation
- Lack of a clear pathway, especially for those aged 25+
- The fact that internships (and apprenticeships?) are too restrictive (only 16-24)
- The fact that the public sector should/could be doing more to offer appropriate opportunities
- Difficulties for adults themselves including with application forms, selection processes
- Lack of self-esteem which impairs people’s ability to take steps towards employment
- The need for better information and training of key individuals including Training of Disability Employment Advisers
- Need for an autism-friendly city centre information point (wider than just employment)
- Need for employment/business mentors to provide 1-1 support to autistic adults seeking to enter employment
The group has produced an annotated and downloadable list of Online Resources on Employment and Autistic Adults
and an “Our Fair City Employer Charter, which can also be downloaded here: “Employer Guide for Autistic Adults”
Click on the link below to download the minutes of meetings of the Working Group on Employment:
Notes from the Employment Working Group 4th July2017
Notes from Employment Group Meeting 2nd May 2017
Notes from Employment Group Meeting March 2017
Notes from Employment Group Meeting 10th January 2017
Notes-from-the-Employment-Group-Meeting-08 Nov 2016