We're working in partnership with NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust to provide our students with valuable work experience.
Just 16% of autistic adults are in full time paid employment. The National Autistic Society is aiming to close this employment gap with their Too Much Information campaign
As a school, we've pledged to engage with employers in the community to give our young people increased access to really positive outcomes. We have worked closely with several national organisations.
Read on to learn more about the project we've started in collaboration with the NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to set up a range of exciting work experience opportunities for our students in local NHS settings.
Some of these settings include volunteering placements that may be in the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. The school is now an associate member of the trust. As a school, the benefits of being an associate member include taking part in events, accessing opportunities to showcase our work and engaging in consultation to representing the views of autistic people.
As a school, our key aims for this project with NHS Bexley CCG are closely based on the aims of the Government's 'Think Autism' stategy:
- Providing innovative projects based on the needs of our young people to increase their chances of gaining future employment.
- Raising awareness and understanding with organisations and businesses.
- Providing joined-up, relevant advice, resources and links to support and information for our families, young people, organisations and businesses.
Our collaborative project to develop work experiences will have mutually beneficial outcomes. Our students are offered the opportunity to access hugely beneficial work experience placements, and we are able to offer our expertise in autism practice. Recently, two of our staff and one of our students delivered a ‘lunch and learn’ at NHS Bexley CCG’s offices.
We raised awareness and understanding about autism, including issues around employment and adjustments that can contribute to gaining and maintaining employment for autistic individuals, as outlined by the National Autistic Society's Too Much Information campaign.
We are very proud of our student who co-presented very capably and professionally, and was able to explain first-hand what it is like to be on the autism spectrum, dispelling myths and explaining from a personal perspective.
The same student is writing a regular blog for NHS Bexley CCG internal communications, based on his work experience placement with the communications team. This will enable him to self-advocate as a young man and raise awareness from the point of view of someone on the autism spectrum.
Professionals reading his blog will be able to develop their understanding of possible issues, and the value of being offered work experience with the opportunity to showcase personal skills and abilities.
NHS Bexley CCG’s work experience placements are being made accessible for all students and we're working creatively to identify placements that meet individual needs.
Work experience placements take place as part of individual study programmes on a weekly basis for the whole academic year, and beyond where appropriate, so that students fully benefit from the opportunity.
Some students may feel more comfortable completing their work at school, so they can bring work tasks to school. Other students who are able to be more independent can access placements in NHS settings that are close to their homes.
For these students, part of their learning will be travel training, so that they're able to travel from their home to work experience/volunteering placements independently, practising skills that they will need as young adults going to work.
Read about one student's work experience story, by clicking here.