Thanks to a Scottish Government initiative called CashBack for Communities, autistic young people in Glasgow and surrounding areas are being given the opportunity to take positive steps towards employment.

Across west central Scotland, the National Autistic Society Scotland’s Moving Forward programme is working with people on the autistic spectrum to help them develop skills for the workplace, gain social confidence and find employment.

Twenty two year old Jason from Possilpark in Glasgow, has been a recent beneficiary of Moving Forward with CashBack for Communities. Jason has a long held interest in drama and self-referred to Moving Forward with a view to developing his confidence and resilience as he seeks to develop a career within the field of acting and performance. Jason is now participating in Limitless, a pilot project offering training and support for young people interested in a career in performing arts, a collaboration between Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and National Theatre of Scotland.

The programme is open to young people, aged between 16 to 24, who have a diagnosis of autism - people like 21-year-old Emma from Coatbridge. Emma was referred to The National Autistic society’s Moving Forward programme through her local Jobcentreplus office. Emma was keen to find paid employment, ideally within the beauty industry, having previously achieved an NC in Beauty Therapy and Level 6 in Make Up Artistry. During her initial assessment meeting, Emma explained that she found social interaction challenging and at times processing information was difficult for her too. Having attended our workshops on social confidence and anxiety management, Emma began a two day per week work placement within a beauty salon in Glasgow city centre. After successfully completing that placement, Emma was offered a 21 hour per week post as Beauty Therapist within the salon.

The National Autistic Society aims to close the autism employment gap, the charities research found that just 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid work and only 32% of autistic adults are in some kind of paid work, compared to 47% of disabled people and 80% of the general population. The charity takes a two-pronged approach, supporting autistic people to find work and helping employers to ensure that autistic people succeed in post.

The charity works with a range of public partners including GPs, Jobcentre Plus, Skills Development Scotland, social services, schools and universities, as well as the private sector, to promote Moving Forward with CashBack for Communities.

Jim Doherty, Programme Manager, the National Autistic Society Scotland said: “The National Autistic Society’s Moving Forward programme with CashBack for Communities is open to young people, aged between 16 to 24 from west central Scotland. The programme offers a flexible, person centred pathway for autistic young people. Mentoring is a key element of that pathway, matching those young people who are furthest from employment with Volunteer Mentors.”

The Scottish Mentoring Network recently awarded Moving Forward the ‘Inclusion Project of the Year’ with our Volunteer Mentor, Becky Preston being recognised as a highly commended mentor.

Over the next three years the goal is to support 300 young people from Scotland’s most deprived communities thanks to the £583,000 received from CashBack for Communities, a unique Scottish Government programme which takes money seized from criminals under the proceeds of crime legislation and invests them in projects for Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people. 

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from the Moving Forward programme or you are a business interested in learning more then please do get in touch by phoning 0141 248 1725 or emailing moving.forward@nas.org.uk.

Find out more here!