Christina Joint (Commended Mentor), Gillian McCarthy (A Scottish Mentoring Network board member), Callum McCrosson (Highly Commended Staff Member) 

Our charity’s mentoring project, which helps autistic young people in Scotland overcome barriers to employment, won three awards at this year’s Scottish Mentoring Awards.

We took home awards for Disability and Health Project of the Year, Highly Commended Staff Member and Commended Mentor at the prestigious ceremony, which took place on Thursday 17 November at The Trades Hall, Glasgow.

The awards are in recognition of our Moving Forward project, which was launched in response to the under-employment of autistic young people.

The project aims to help autistic people into employment, and increase autism understanding amongst employers. The service is supported by a team of volunteer mentors who play a key role in helping their mentees to develop social confidence, employability and independent living skills, and how to understand and maintain relationships in the workplace.

Christina Joint, who has been a volunteer mentor with us for 18 months, took home the title of Commended Mentor. In this short period of time, Christina has mentored four people and has consistently demonstrated a willingness to go above and beyond what we ask for. Her commitment, skills and adaptability have helped to ensure her mentees achieve their goals.

Also recognised for their hard work and dedication was Callum McCrosson, who was awarded the accolade of Highly Commended Staff Member.

Callum is a Befriending and Mentoring Coordinator for the project and joined our team in June 2015. In the 17 months since, Moving Forward has achieved more positive outcomes than ever before. We’ve had a total of 41 young autistic people participate in programme and many have successfully gone on to find employment, move into further education and secure volunteering opportunities.

The awards come following an announcement of new funding for Moving Forward by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson.

The funding comes from Scottish Government’s Cashback for Communities initiative, and means Moving Forward can support around 300 young people into work, volunteering opportunities, and further education over the next three years.