Steve McCabe MP pledges support for campaign to transform the employability of young people with autism

Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak has joined campaigners seeking to transform the employability of young people with autism, by improving their transition from school to work.

Leading autism charity Ambitious about Autism is calling for all young people with autism to have access to high quality careers guidance, work experience opportunities, and post-16 education, and for employers to be autism aware. The charity is launching its campaign, Employ Autism on April 2nd to coincide with World Autism Awareness Month.

At present only 15% of people with autism are in full and paid employment. Many of the UK’s 75,000 young people with autism today have little prospect of work, despite the fact that 99% of them want a job, according to a recent survey conducted by the charity. Currently, there are few work placements or apprenticeships available to young people with autism and careers advice is at best patchy.

Ambitious about Autism is calling for a step change to give young people with autism a fighting chance of getting a job by improving their transition from school and college into the workplace. Campaigners are calling for young people with autism to get the right education, advice and work experience opportunities to prepare for their transition into work; and for employers to have the understanding and will to support this transition.

According to research by Ambitious about Autism, less than one in four young people with autism access education beyond statutory age. Campaigners are calling for all of these young people to have access to high quality education which could bring opportunities on leaving school. This would equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to enter the world of work. Employers also need to play their part by offering meaningful work experience placements, apprenticeship and traineeships to young people with autism. A quarter of young people with autism have had no access to work experience, and only 15% of young people with autism believe that employers are likely to offer someone with autism a job. By undertaking autism awareness training, the employer would be better equipped to support these young recruits.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“I am delighted to support Ambitious about Autism’s Employ Autism campaign. With the right support and opportunities, young people with autism can join the work force and make a brilliant contribution to their workplace and local communities.

I recently visited the National Grid EmployAbility Scheme which is leading the way in offering quality work experience for young people from Selly Oak Trust School with Special Educational needs. It would be fantastic to see more collaboration between local schools, colleges and employers so that young people with autism and special needs have the same access to training and employment possibilities as other people of the same age.”

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