Alfie DeyesOur national Autism Employment Gap campaign aims to get the Government to take action so more autistic people are supported into work. In February, we handed in a petition signed by 30,000 of you to then Disabilities Minister, Penny Mordaunt. A Government plan on employment published later in the year recognised that autistic people faced specific challenges in finding work. You have told us that employment is a priority for you and we will be continuing with the campaign in 2018.

There was more action on employment in February, when we attended the annual HelmsBriscoe event to raise funds to help autistic young adults gain work experience and employment training. And the event helps raise awareness among the employers who attend - and makes them aware of the untapped pool of talent they may be missing.

The money raised funds the HelmsBriscoe programme to help autistic people into employment through a six-week programme. First of all, young autistic adults get help preparing for a work placement, including a dedicated mentor and training in workplace skills. Then they have a work placement in a hotel participating in the programme, after which they get help to find a job.

Café Autisan, at Whalley Abbey in Lancashire, is a National Autistic Society enterprise, staffed by autistic people who develop new skills and build their self-confidence. Since February, five people have started their NVQ level 2 qualification in catering and hospitality. They were apprehensive at first, but they have made amazing progress.

People enjoy working at Café Autisan and we’re really pleased that that they are also achieving national qualifications.

We had a lovely surprise in February when YouTuber and author, Alfie Deyes - who has 4 million subscribers and 5 million twitter followers - revamped a camper-van and auctioned it on eBay for the charity, raising £3000.

A big thank you to Connor Ward, one of Alfie’s autistic fans, who nominated the National Autistic Society.


Find out about our successes in March