Employment Schemes: 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 help young people diagnosed with autism into work in (a) Bristol and (b) the UK.

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

Jobcentre Plus partnership managers work with a range of organisations across Bristol to ensure we can hear the voice of the customer and to work collaboratively to address and remove barriers to employment.

Throughout the country, Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches offer people with disabilities and health conditions, including autism, tailored support to reduce barriers to work and help them into work. Work Coaches are trained in dealing with customers with a range of conditions, including autism, and have access to a range of resources, including an autism learning toolkit, free online courses, training for managers, guidance on reasonable adjustments, and employer guides. Work Coaches are supported by Disability Employment Advisers and DWP Work Psychologists, who can also directly support customers, and advised by Community Partners, who have a lived experience or expert knowledge of disability.

Nationally, there is a range of support available for young people with autism, including:

  • The Work and Health Programme, which offers a personalised local approach to supporting people, overcome barriers to employment, by targeting specialist support to those who are likely to be able to find work within 12 months.
  • Access to Work, which has a Hidden Impairment Specialist Team offers advice and guidance to help employers support employees with conditions such as Autism, Learning Disability and/or Mental Health conditions.
  • Young people who start a work placement with an employer as part of the Department for Education supported internship programme or a Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy traineeship are eligible to apply for Access to Work support for the period of the work placement. Supported internships are for young people aged 16—24 with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, who want to get a job and need extra support to do this.
  • The Disability Confident scheme, though which DWP is engaging with employers and helping to promote the skills, talents and abilities of people with autism and associated conditions. Over 10,000 businesses have signed up to Disability Confident since it was launched in November 2016.
  • The Disability Passport ‘About Me’, developed 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 was launched in March 2017 and is hosted on Autism Alliance’s website
  • The Local Supported Employment Proof of Concept, which is being delivered with nine local authorities and will support those with a learning disability or autism who are known to adult social care, or those in contact with secondary mental health services.

We are also improving access to apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities and difficulties. For example, the government has introduced legislation which adjusts the minimum English and Maths requirements for apprenticeships for people with a learning difficulty or disability to entry Level 3. This change allows more people to benefit from the opportunities available through apprenticeships and work.

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