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New programme to boost number of people with autism accessing city-wide apprenticeships introduced


An innovative project aiming to increase the number of people with autism accessing apprenticeships and jobs in Leeds is now open to applications.

Working closely with the charity Specialist Autism Services, the new programme will offer participants a combination of meaningful work experience, employability sessions and a package of guidance and support to assist their job and apprenticeship applications.

In common with the picture nationally, the number of people with autism accessing apprenticeship opportunities in Leeds is relatively low. Through a person-centred approach designed to build confidence and improve skills, the council, with Specialist Autism Services, has set out the ambition to raise participation levels.

As part of the project, a minimum of 50 people with autism will be engaged, with proactive work also being undertaken with businesses across the city to encourage the creation of autism-friendly work experience and apprenticeship opportunities. Businesses will also be encouraged to become autism-friendly employers as part of this engagement activity.

Running until July 2018, Businesses interested in finding out how they can be involved in the programme and anyone wishing to enrol in the project is asked to contact Wil Quick on: 01274 789789.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for employment, skills and opportunity said:

“We want to ensure that everyone in Leeds has the opportunity to access the wide range of apprenticeship and work experience opportunities that are on offer. A key strand of our engagement work is to increase the number of people with disabilities who are accessing our programme, and I very much welcome the launch of this innovative project in partnership with Specialist Autism Services.

“Alongside providing a range of tailored support to increase awareness of apprenticeship opportunities and help to access them, we are also working very closely with local businesses in the city to widen the number of employers offering autism-friendly placements and jobs, which is a crucial element of our strategy.”

Rachael Memmott, director of funding and administration at Specialist Autism Services said:

“This is an exciting opportunity to provide specialist support to individuals on the Autism spectrum from across Leeds who would like to find out more about apprenticeships and explore their potential.

“This opportunity would not have been possible without the funding from Leeds City Council who have been extremely supportive of this unique programme.”

Specialist Autism Services use a person-centred approach to create opportunities for people to build confidence, develop social skills, increase independence and fulfil their potential.

To find out more about the work of the charity, please see: