Justice Minister Michael Matheson with young people from Moving Forward programme 

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson visited our office in Glasgow today, Wednesday 14 March, to find out how we are helping autistic young people into work.

Our Moving Forward project aims to help young people in the West of Scotland to develop skills for the workplace, gain social confidence and find employment.

It is funded by Cashback for Communities, a Scottish Government initiative which takes money seized from criminals under the proceeds of crime legislation and invests them in projects for Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people. 

Mr Matheson said: “I was pleased to visit the National Autistic Society to meet young people and parents who have benefited from the CashBack-funded Moving Forward programme.

“It was fantastic to hear real stories that show the positive impact that this initiative has had on young people’s lives. Since 2008 we have committed £92 million to CashBack and other community initiatives and I am keen to ensure that such opportunities continue to be provided to help young people develop skills for the workplace, gain social confidence and find employment.”

During his visit, the Minister heard from young people supported by the project and their parents.

James Doherty, Moving Forward project manager, said: “Research undertaken as part of our Too Much Information campaign revealed that just 32 per cent of autistic people in Scotland are in employment - compared to 47 per cent of disabled people and 80 per cent of non-disabled people.

"We are very grateful to the Justice Secretary and the team at Cashback for Communities supporting Moving Forward. Together we can give autistic young people the help they need to succeed in the workplace and close the autism employment gap.”

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from the Moving Forward project please phone 0141 248 1725 or email moving.forward@nas.org.uk.

Find out more about Moving Forward