20th May 2020
Specialist Vocational Advisor joins the team at BeyondAutism to provide all its service users the opportunity to follow their aspirations for employment
This week BeyondAutism welcomed Emily Ross to the newly created role of Specialist Vocational Advisor, a step that recognises everyone should have the right to choose their own employment pathway. This appointment has been made thanks to a grant from the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust. They have provided £178,400 over the next five years to develop strategies, partnerships, a toolkit, and an employment pathway through our services and beyond into adulthood.
We want all our learners, and those we reach through our services to have aspirations for employment. Employment in its widest context is supported work, sheltered employment, work placements, volunteering and purposeful positive activity.
“Never before has it been more important for us to focus on these outcomes”
David Anthony, Head of Research and Learning
Entering the Covid-19 pandemic we knew the picture relating to autism and employment was poor. Only 32% of adults with autism are in any kind of paid work, with only 16% in full-time paid employment – a statistic that hasn’t changed since 2007 (National Autistic Society: Too Much Information, 2016). Furthermore, the national statistic for people with disabilities in employment are only making minor improvements, with just over 53% in employment compared with those considered not disabled (People with disabilities in employment, Andy Powell, 2020). Never has it been more important for us to focus on these outcomes, as we currently face a national and international uncertainty in the shadow of the pandemic.
Emily has joined the Research and Learning department of BeyondAutism, and will be working directly with our services, learners, employers, and organisations on projects that have the greatest level of impact. This includes:
- Working with the senior teams to develop the strategy for employability
- Developing a toolkit of resources, to be used within our services and beyond
- Developing vocational assessments, person-centred plans, and referral systems for our students to enter employment and related activities
- Building on our current portfolio of work placements to ensure a broad and representative range of vocational opportunities
- Working in partnership with the wider Research and Learning team to develop training resources for employers
- Becoming a wider influence on the perceptions of people with autism and work; changing attitudes with employers, families, and learners about what outcomes and aspirations can look like.
Emily has worked with children and young adults with SEN in education and the community for a decade. In 2013, while working at a SEN college, she took on a Job Coach role and supported a student with autism during their work placement at a supermarket. Her passion for Supported Employment was born.
Since then Emily has gone on to set up Supported Internships at a major London hospital trust and worked for several charities as an Employment Advisor. She has worked alongside companies such as Sodexo, GSK, British Airways, Sainsbury’s and the NHS to facilitate reasonable adjustments at interview stage and in work, so young adults with additional needs have access to meaningful employment.