Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, and Director of National Autistic Society Scotland, Nick Ward.

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, and Director of National Autistic Society Scotland, Nick Ward.

 

We celebrated 20 years of our Prospects employment service at a well-attended reception at Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 2 October 2019.

MSPs joined autistic young people, families, employers, Government officials and representatives from National Autistic Society Scotland to hear about the successes of the service, which has supported more than 1,600 autistic people to prepare for work.

The celebratory event also featured a sketch performed by a group of autistic young people supported by the service. The sketch highlighted the challenges autistic people can face at a job interview. There was also an art exhibition and live music.

Nick Ward, Director of National Autistic Society Scotland, said: “Shockingly less than a third of autistic people are in work despite the majority wanting to work. Our Prospects employment service offers invaluable support to autistic people in some of Scotland’s most deprived areas who aspire to earn a wage and be included in the workplace.

We hope our reception gave young autistic young people the platform to show what they can do and highlighted the positive difference that our Prospects employment service makes.

Jason Ferguson, a young autistic man, performed in the short sketch about going to a job interview. He said: “My aspiration is to become an actor and staff from National Autistic Society Scotland’s Prospects employment service have helped me fill out applications for college and drama workshops, as well as supporting me in looking for work. Without them, I worry I’d just be at home with nothing to do. I was keen to take part in the reception at Scottish Parliament because we need to get across the challenges autistic people face, and also show what we can do.”

Group shot of attendees at an event at the Scottish Parliament

A group shot of attendees at the celebration

 

Our Prospects employment service is currently funded in large part by CashBack for Communities, a Scottish Government initiative that takes money from the proceeds of crime legislation and invests it in projects for disadvantaged young people.

Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf said: “It is fantastic to see how the charity is using CashBack money to create the employment service Moving Forward, which is part of the Prospects programme, to support young autistic people to prepare for job interviews and help them to move into regular employment."

To find out more about our Prospects employment service, please visit this page here.