Leeds Beckett leads European project to improve job prospects for graduates with autism
Leeds Beckett University is leading a European project which is aimed at improving the job prospects for graduates with autism.
Improved autism awareness means that more autistic people than ever are doing well in school, moving on to university, and entering the job market with university-level qualifications.
However, most are not finding jobs. Figures show that in the UK and Europe, between 84 per cent and 90 per cent of autistic adults are not in full-time employment, while others are working well below their ability level in lower-paid roles.
The Improving Employability of Autistic Graduates in Europe (IMAGE) Project has brought together researchers from the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, France and Germany to create solutions and Dr Marc Fabri, from Leeds School of Arts, said the research found similar problems in all of the countries involved, despite differences in culture and national employment initiatives.
Working with autistic students and graduates, employers, academics and careers advisors, the IMAGE Project team is developing a ‘Good Practices Guides’ that will be available this summer in five languages. A training programme for university and other careers advisors is also being developed and a training package will be released at a conference in Amsterdam later this year.
Dr Fabri added: "Many people are in a position to help and it’s important to consider where and how employability support can be provided - making adjustments for sensory issues is one example, providing clear and unambiguous information is another. Academics can help autistic students get internships and other work experience and help them get the most out of it.
“Careers advisors are often not sure how to advise autistic people about sharing their diagnosis and may not know about employment laws and practices around disability. Employers also need to make sure their recruitment and employment practices do not disadvantage qualified candidates and prevent disability discrimination.
“The IMAGE Project wants to make finding good jobs for university graduates with autism less a matter of pure luck than the result of smart planning and inclusive action.”