This year’s World Autism Awareness Week aimed to highlight the particular needs of people living with autism and also the support which is available to help them live full and rewarding lives, with many organisations playing a key role in making Wolverhampton more autism-friendly.
They include Enable Supported Employment Services, which helps adults with autism and disabilities into the world of work. It offers jobseekers an assessment and development plan, careers advice, help with job searches, CV writing, applications and interviews, and support for both the employer and the employee when they begin work.
Jen Kenyon from Enable said: “We firmly believe that employment improves health and builds self-worth, as well as bringing financial and social independence.
“We work directly with both jobseekers and employers to find the right job for the right person and, with the help of innovative employment schemes and approaches, have a proven track record of helping jobseekers find the career path that suits their interests and skills.”
Connexions Wolverhampton supports young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, including autism, in their transition from school to adult life.
Based at the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Civic Centre, the team provide advice and practical support to help young people achieve their career goals, helping them understand the options open to them after they leave school and helping them make decisions about next steps.
Niginder Kaur, Team Manager, said: “If you have autism we will let you decide how, where and when you want to use our service and you want to us to communicate with you. We can start working with you when you are in year 9 and will meet with you regularly in school or college to make sure your views about your future education and career are understood and heard.
“We can also carry on supporting you after you have left full time education to help you look for employment and will be able to make sure you are in touch with all of the organisations that can help you.”
Meanwhile, the council itself offers an inclusive apprenticeship programme which is able to support individuals with specific needs, including autism.
If a person has applied for an apprenticeship with the council and declares they have a degree of autism, it will work with them to understand any bespoke support requirements they may have.
Sue Lindup, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Skills and Employability Manager, said: “It’s important that we as a city do all we can to ensure that having autism is not a barrier to living a full and rewarding life, and that they are able to enjoy the education, training and employment opportunities available to others.”
To contact Connexions, visit www.connexionswolverhampton.co.uk, email [email protected] or call 01902 554499. People can also meet Connexions advisors at the Civic Centre on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1.30pm-4.30pm. Please ask for Connexions at the main reception desk.
For details of other local help and support services for people with autism and their families, visit the Wolverhampton Information Network at http://win.wolverhampton.gov.uk.
World Autism Awareness Week took place from 1-7 April, 2019; for more information, please visit the National Autistic Society website at www.autism.org.uk.