Employment: Autism

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to increase the rate of retention in employment of people with autism.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Government is strongly committed to increasing employment opportunities for disabled people, including those with autism, and improving employment retention rates. We are working across Government and with local authorities, voluntary organisations and employers in the public and private sectors to achieve this. Help and support for people with autism includes:

  • Disability Confident scheme, through which DWP is engaging with employers and helping to promote the skills, talents and abilities of people with autism and associated hidden impairment conditions. Disability Confident offers advice and support, to help employers feel more confident about employing disabled people. Over 10,000 businesses have signed up to the disability Confident scheme since it was launched in November 2016
  • Access to Work, which has a Hidden Impairment Specialist Team that gives advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions such as Autism, Learning Disability and/or Mental Health conditions. It also offers eligible people an assessment to find out their needs at work and help to develop a support plan.

  • The Disability Passport ‘About Me’ which aims to encourage disabled claimants, including individuals with autism, to disclose their disability/ health conditions at the earliest stage to their Adviser, to improve communication and ensure reasonable adjustments are put in place. The passport is hosted on Autism Alliance’s website.

The Civil Service has committed to support the Autism Exchange Programme, and my Department is working with Ambitious about Autism to provide work placement opportunities for young people.

The number of working age disabled people in employment in the UK reached around 3.9 million in Q3 2018. This was an increase of 123,000 since Q3 2017, and an overall increase of 973,000 since Q3 2013, the earliest comparable figure.

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