Employment and Autism
The development of Autism Initiatives Social Enterprise businesses is part of the organisation’s overall strategy to support individuals with autism to lead productive and fulfilling lives.
It is the organisation’s belief that all people with autism, irrespective of the severity of their needs and difficulties, have potential to make a valued and valuable contribution to society.
Autism Initiatives' Social Enterprises are designed to help individuals with autism gain meaningful and engaging work experience whilst developing invaluable skills that can be carried with them on their journey from training into employment.
Through our charity Autism Ventures we currently operate a number of successful UK wide Social Enterprise training opportunities:
Why not visit our bike recycling project MeCycle in Seaforth, Liverpool if you would like to donate a bike or for all of your biking needs – including maintenance, repairs and the purchase of new or reconditioned bikes.
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In Southport A Great Little Place won best coffee shop category in the Southport Food and Drink Festival 2011, why not drop and see for yourself why we won. You can also buy affordable but unique, locally sourced hand made jewelry and artwork, wherever possible created by people with autism, try us for that special gift for the person who has everything.
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The environment is at the heart of everything we grow. All our home grown vegetables are grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides. We also produce our own compost and harvest rainwater.
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These businesses offer a range of new learning opportunities to our trainees They will gain specific skills from each individual Social Enterprise e.g. catering, horticultural, bike maintenance and repair skills etc., depending upon individual interests. They will also learn about aspects of business, including customer service, manufacturing, retail and administration but above all else they will get the chance to deliver a high quality, professionally made product to the public, in it-self raising levels of confidence and self-esteem.
All profits raised through these enterprises are reinvested into realising the aims of Autism Initiatives, and providing further opportunities to our service users.
Research has shown that people with Autism Spectrum Condition thrive in a structured and well organised environment and can be excellent employees through the use of their strengths. For example, the patterns of thinking typically associated with autism, mean that with the correct support, people are able to quickly learn and follow work based routines. Often people with Autism Spectrum Condition are described as ‘needing to reach a finish’; this becomes a strength in the world of work, where they are motivated to reach the end of an assigned task.
People with Autism Spectrum Condition may also be described as having a ‘single channelled attention focus’ and an ‘attention to detail’, these too become strengths within the work place, where they are not easily distracted from a clear task in hand.
1 in 100 people are estimated to have Autism Spectrum Condition, which means there are over 600,000 people in the UK with the condition; only 12% have full-time jobs as opposed to 49% of people with general disabilities. A report from the London School of Economics recently stated that autism costs UK society £27bn annually with a large amount of that cost being derived from lack of employment.
Autism Initiatives have moved away from the traditional ‘deficit’ model of autism. We support people with Autism Spectrum Condition by recognising the strengths of each individual and we use these strengths to support any areas of difficulty that they may experience, ensuring that they achieve their potential and lead meaningful and fulfilled lives.