The interns on our BeyondAutism internship programme are spending the year in different departments across the charity, developing their skills and knowledge. For World Autism Acceptance Week, we spoke to Joe (HR intern), Simone (Schools intern) and Robert (Marketing and Communications intern). We asked them what barriers they have faced in the past and why employment is important to them.
When looking for jobs, what problems have you faced?
Joe: For me, as a young adult on the autistic spectrum, it has always been difficult to find paid work. I had been invited to many interviews for other jobs, all of which had been unsuccessful; I didn’t feel most of the interviews went particularly badly, so I thought it was just a matter of other applicants being better suited for the job. However, when I attended a career open day, one of the professionals checked my CV and told me that mentioning that I have autism may have been a factor in this. This is when I realised how difficult it actually was for people with autism in general to find employment due to the possible stereotypes of the condition.
Simone: I feel that employers don’t always give me a chance when I tell them I am autistic. In an interview, I can’t always think and answer questions quickly. I need time to process.
How have you found the internship so far?
Simone: I have found the internship really helpful because I feel I am gaining more skills. I will be able to take these skills into the next job I get. I really enjoy working in Park House School. The support I get is very helpful. It has been very useful to get support and input on my CV. I also find the one-to-one reviews helpful as I am told where I am doing well and where I can improve.
Joe: The internship has been an incredible opportunity for me. I made new friends, learned some new skills that I think would benefit me greatly in my future career. It has also helped me develop a better understanding of the workplace. I am extremely grateful to be a part of the internship.
Robert: I have found the internship heart-warming, rewarding, demanding, challenging, cheery, creative, diverse, evidence-based and more. It has nourished my nurturing nature, widened my wordplay web and magnified my marketing motivation. I have found creating for cross-organisation projects within constraints right up my street. I have also enjoyed picking out complementary photographs and graphics to grab the reader.
What support do you find helpful in the workplace?
Robert: I find being made aware of upcoming deadlines early helpful because this reduces stress and human errors. Being made aware of tasks for the following week on the Friday is helpful because this prepares me. I find praise and constructive criticism in reviews and throughout helpful as it makes me feel valued and steepens my learning curve. At BeyondAutism I have been encouraged to keep a journal which is a useful aid to remember details of tasks completed, skills acquired, challenges faced and biggest achievements. I also find seeing screenshots and screenshares helpful for performing new duties because I am a visual learner.
Joe: I always find it helpful when colleagues make sure I understand exactly what I am expected to do in my day-to-day duties. It always helps to know that people are on hand to help, and available if I have any concerns or worries.
Why is employment important for you?
Robert: Employment is important to me because I derive more self-worth and make people proud of me. I enjoy helping people who deserve it, as well as creating things and experiencing camaraderie with colleagues.
Simone: A job gives me a purpose to get up in the mornings. I like to learn new skills and have routine. I like doing something valuable and a job lets me do that. Making new friends, being sociable and interacting with other people is important to me and a job allows me to do that.
Joe: It is important for me because, as well as earning a living, I feel it is important for me to build on my own personal skills, such as communication and organising my time. It means I can live my life to a high standard and gain more confidence in my own abilities.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our Internship roles get in touch. Further details about the 2022/23 Internship starting in September will be released in the coming months.
Back to World Autism Acceptance Week.