Autism: Employment

Department for Education written question – answered at on 26 June 2023.

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Photo of Damien Moore Damien Moore Conservative, Southport

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department is taking steps to collaborate with special educational needs and disability organisations on improving the (a) employability and (b) earning potential of people with Autism.

Photo of Claire Coutinho Claire Coutinho The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department regularly meets with a range of Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and autism organisations on a wide range of education policy issues that impact on autistic children and young people, including preparation for adulthood and employment.

Improving joined-up support is central to our proposed SEND and Alternative Provision (AP) reforms and the cross-government Autism strategy, which recognises the progress made as well as the challenges that remain for reducing inequalities for autistic people of all ages, including access to and experiences of employment.

More information on the SEND and AP reforms, and the cross-government Autism strategy, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-and-alternative-provision-improvement-plan, and: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-strategy-for-autistic-children-young-people-and-adults-2021-to-2026/the-national-strategy-for-autistic-children-young-people-and-adults-2021-to-2026.

The department and the Department of Health and Social Care have established a national Executive Group to monitor the timely delivery of actions for the Autism strategy, which reports directly into myself and my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Care, at a bi-annual accountability meeting. This group includes SEND and autism organisation representatives, who feedback their reflections and experiences to the Ministers. The group most recently met on 20 June 2023.

Additionally, in April 2023 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced a review, led by Sir Robert Buckland MP and supported by the charity Autistica, that will explore how employers recruit, retain, and develop autistic people. The department is working closely with DWP on this, prioritising the engagement of schools, colleges and voluntary organisations.

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