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Job prospects for autistic people get a welcome boost

IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK

PLANS to boost the employment prospects of autistic people have been welcomed by campaigning charities.

Former Lord Chancellor Sir Robert Buckland is to lead a commission that will look at how the Government can work with employers to help more autistic people realise their potential and get into work.

People with autism have particularly low employment rates – with fewer than three in 10 in work – but the Buckland Review of Autism Employment is aiming to change that.

Sir Robert said: “I am delighted to have been asked to lead this important Review. Our workplaces and businesses would benefit so much from the huge potential that autistic people represent.

“If we close the employment gap for autistic people, it will not just mean individual fulfilment but a significant boost to employment and productivity for our country.”

Tim Nicholls, head of influencing and research at the National Autistic Society, said: “Urgent action is needed as the autism employment gap is still far too wide, with only 29% of autistic people in employment, compared to around half of all disabled people and 80% of non-disabled people.

“This commission alone won’t ensure autistic people are able to fully realise their potential in the work place, but it’s a really valuable step towards closing the employment gap. The Government must also fully fund its national autism strategy so that autistic people can get the vital support they need.”

The Review will ask businesses, employment organisations, specialist support groups and autistic people to help identify the barriers to securing and retaining work and progressing with their careers.

Dr James Cusack, chief executive of Autistica, the UK autism research and campaigning charity, said: “The benefits for autistic people and society will be huge if we can give autistic people the opportunity to work and thrive in employment.

“That’s why we want to see a doubling of the employment rate for autistic people by 2030.

“We are delighted to support the Government on this vital review which will enable us to move from awareness to evidence-based action.”

Tom Pursglove, minister for disabled people, health and work, said: “We know autistic people can face barriers moving into employment and staying there. This is often down to the employers themselves not having the tools to support autistic people, or truly understanding the value of a neurodiverse workforce.

“This important review will provide us with vital information to remove these barriers and help more autistic people start, stay and succeed in work by ensuring more employers provide truly inclusive places to work.”

 

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