University of Portsmouth sets up service to help autistic people find work

AUTISM research has been used to set up the first free employment profiling service to help more people on the autistic spectrum find work.

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 3:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 3:53 pm
Dr Beatriz Lopez

The services have been designed by a team of experts in autism and employment at the University of Portsmouth Autism Centre for Research on Employment (ACRE), led by Dr Beatriz López, and aim to help employers make reasonable adjustments in the workplace so that employees on the autism spectrum can thrive in employment.

Statistics show only 16 per cent of adults on the spectrum are in full-time employment, compared to 47 per cent of people with other disabilities.

Dr López said: ‘Despite many efforts by the government and the third sector, employment rates in autism remain stubbornly low.

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‘Our research, and that of others, shows that autism is a very diverse condition and there is not one formula that will work for all. Unfortunately, employers do not have sufficient knowledge to assess the needs of their employees.’

The profiling service is free under the University of Portsmouth’s commitment to have a positive impact on the community and the website also includes tools to help people on the autism spectrum to take control and learn how to find their ideal job.  

Sections include preparing and looking for work, identifying values and strengths, and discussions on if, and when, to tell an employer you are on the spectrum.

Dr López, who has won awards for the ACRE which was opened in 2014 at the university thanks to a grant from the Department of Health, added: ‘Our research shows that one of the largest barriers to employment is failure to make adjustments in the workplace.

‘Our goal is to enhance the job opportunities of people on the autism spectrum without, or with mild learning disabilities.’

To find out more about the Employment Toolkit and the profiling services, visit port.ac.uk/acre/employment

The site is owned and managed by the University of Portsmouth, and is sponsored by Portsmouth City Council.