TMI Employment Campaign

Today the Government has published its plan for how to improve employment rates for disabled people in a report called Improving Lives – The Future of Work, Health and Disability.

This report follows on from a Government consultation in October 2016 which set out the Government’s aspiration to get a million more disabled people into work over the next ten years. Our charity responded to that consultation, as did over a thousand autistic people.

Last year, our Autism Employment Gap report highlighted findings that just 16% of autistic adults are in full time work. It called on the Government to:

  • Commit to doubling the number of autistic adults in work
  • Create a national programme to promote the employment potential of autistic people to employers
  • Develop an autism employment pathway with specialist support
  • Monitor how successful support is by recording the employment rate for autistic people

Today’s publication has set out some more details of what Government will do to increase employment opportunities for disabled people.

Amongst their key proposals were:

  • An acknowledgement that employment rates for autistic people are amongst the lowest employment rates for any disability group and that people should be able to get the right employment support for them
  • Increasing opportunities for young people with Education, Health and Care Plans to take part in supported internships
  • Providing extra training for job coaches in Jobcentres to help support people with mental health conditions
  • Improved careers advice for children and young people with special educational needs
  • A commitment to carry out further research to find what sort of employment support works for different conditions and disabilities.

However, we do not think that this plan goes far enough to put in place the support that autistic people need to get into work.

Our Chief Executive Mark Lever has said:

“While we welcome that the Government has acknowledged the shockingly low employment rates among autistic people, we don’t believe that these plans will deliver the transformational change needed to close the autism employment gap. With just 16% of autistic adults in full time work, the autism employment rate is among the lowest among disabled people.

The plan includes some positive steps, such as increased opportunities for some young autistic people to get supported internships and improved careers advice for children with special educational needs. But this is tinkering around the edges of the problem, if we don’t also have a clear offer of autism specific employment support and advice at each step.

Our research shows that 77% of unemployed autistic people want a job, and we will work with the Government to make sure that this plan delivers as much progress as it can. We’re also ready to help the Government develop the more ambitious plans we’ll need to close the autism employment gap."

Read about our employment campaign