[Sub ID 4714] Framework to connect young people with autism with local employers (Amaze)

Submission ID: 4714
Organisation name: Amaze
Contact name: Ms Shannon Anderson
State: VIC
Contact email: shannon.anderson@amaze.org.au
Contact number: 0396571600

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Amaze’s idea addresses the need for improved support for young people with autism transitioning from school to the workforce. People with autism represent a significant population at risk of intermittent and long-term unemployment.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting brain development, and the way a person experiences the world. Autism is commonly diagnosed in childhood, in more than 1 in 100 young people. These young people face significant barriers to education, employment, wellbeing, financial security and inclusion. They also face the burden of stigma about their disability.

People with autism have a labour force rate of 42%, which is lower than that of people with other disabilities (53%), and significantly lower than people without disability (83%), (ABS 2012). They experience difficulties transitioning from education to employment, and 81% do not have formal qualifications or tertiary education. However many people with autism have both the aptitude and desire for employment. Assisting people on the autism spectrum to enter the workforce and be retained as productive employees is a service that Amaze has demand for. Employers frequently approach Amaze for information on how to support staff with autism. Gainful employment is essential for financial security, and sense of social contribution and belonging.

What is your idea?
Amaze’s idea is to build a framework to connect young people on the autism spectrum with local employers – providing job placement and training at the point of transition from school to the workforce. This will develop participant skills, experience and confidence, while exposing employers to more inclusive staff practices, in a mutually beneficial and sustainable way.

People with autism may have unique skills and insights which can be of great value to workplaces. They also have unique needs and may need adjustments made to work environments to help them feel safe and respected and enable them to work to their full potential. Our idea is about creating a shared understanding between young people and employers and building individual and workplace capacity.

This program will benefit young people (17 to 25 years/recently out of school) who are on the autism spectrum. It will target businesses and employers at a local community level, under a framework that can be adapted with a high degree of replication, for different workplaces and communities.

The idea would be to trial this new initiative in local communities in Victoria, making use of established community training and learning hubs. This process will include engaging young people with autism interested and capable of participating in a short cycle or job placements in partnership with blended learning through completion of a Certificate 1 in Work Education. This initial trial would focus on the following objectives:

1) Develop an evidence based implementation framework in consultation with participants;
2) Engage employers – equip them with knowledge and support tools to take-on a young person with autism in a temporary placement;
3) Broker relationships with a variety of local businesses giving young participants a chance to sample different types of work through a cycle of placements;
4) Improve work readiness for young people with real-world experience, learning and networking;
5) Improve workplace practices for including and supporting staff with autism;
6) Evaluate and scale-up