Across Europe, there is a serious lack of education and training that could give people with autism the vocational, social and communication skills that are required for employment. People with autism have the right to employment in inclusive settings and the right to reasonable accommodation and support to enable them to work effectively. The European Union and all of its Member States have signed, and or ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, obliging EU to take action to implement the rights of people with disabilities in all aspects of life, including employment. When seeking solutions, it is important that they are based on evidence, not assumptions,and that positive emphasis is placed upon their abilities rather than their disability. Across Europe, many organisations are putting these principles into action. Yet, as the vast majority of adults with autism remain unemployed, further action is urgently required.
The Opportunities4autism project had been focused on enabling potential employers to give each person with ASD, the right support in the workplace.
The project had the following objectives:
- To design, test and publish an innovative training package for VET trainers that will guide and support their training on target groups (HR and recruiting managers, business and industry leaders, SME’s, larger corporate, line managers) on understanding, recruiting and supporting individuals with autism at the workplace
- To deliver training courses to directly train the target groups to acquire the knowledge, skills, and competences on understanding, recruiting and supporting individuals with autism at the workplace and, also, to deliver these courses to a target group of VET trainers, in order to amplify and perpetuate the ripple effect of those courses
International cooperation within the framework of this project was an important factor that allowed partners to present a complete training programme which will train them to understand, recruit and support individuals with ASD at the workplace. Another important aspect was the possibility for target groups, from the different partner countries, to exchange their views and concerns regarding the employment of people with ASD. This project was the starting point for the delivery of a comprehensive, training tool, presenting trans-European recommendations and conclusions, ready-to-use scenarios, good practices and strategies to use when recruiting and employing an individual with ASD.
During the project we developed the following outputs:
IO1: “opportunities4autism” VET trainer curriculum
IO2: “opportunities4autism VET trainer Handbook
IO3: “opportunities4autism” Practical Guide for employers
IO4: e-learning platform
6 Multiplier events (1 in each partner country) including 1 final International conference
Short term training event for VET trainers (C1)
Pilot testing: The pilot testing was carried out to test the e-learning platform and evaluate the outputs produced by the participation of employers/managers/HRs, etc.