Ambitious about Autism

Work for autistic young people

The vast majority of autistic people want to work, yet less than a quarter (21.7%) are in employment (ONS 2021). Ambitious about Autism is closing that gap through their Employ Autism programme. Employ Autism is a series of regional networks across England which create ‘ecosystems’ of employability support for autistic young people. These networks include careers guidance professionals, employers, local authority programmes, third sector groups and autistic young people from the local area. The programme both improves autistic young people’s employability and educates careers guidance professionals and employers.

We’ve supported Ambitious about Autism since 2019 and are pleased to award £48,534 matched funding for the charity to evaluate the Employ Autism programme. The grant will fund an evaluation in collaboration with Discover Autism Research and Employment (DARE). Ambitious about Autism will use the findings to adapt their approach, make sure that under-represented communities are included and guarantee that Employ Autism works for all members of the autism community.

  • Employ Autism will reach 1,550 autistic young people over the next three years.
  • The project is addressing the fact that 8 out of 10 autistic young people have had no or poor career guidance.
  • Employ Autism impacts a broad mix of communities, including the diverse, urban areas of Manchester and Birmingham, and more rural communities in Hampshire.

Robust research

Many autistic adults live their lives with an unnecessary level of financial dependence because of low levels of employment; understanding the impact of Employ Autism is key to improving levels of employment for autistic people.

Dr Anna Remington from the Centre for Research in Autism and Education at University College London will lead DARE’s full-scale evaluation of Employ Autism. The research will track autistic young people through the programme and for three years after, gathering data through interviews, questionnaires, and group discussions.



“Employ Autism is especially significant as it will raise our profile as a national charity and effect systemic change. Having a tested, evidence-based model of employability support will also enable us to encourage replication across the country, and to influence government policy and practice.”

Neil Goulden, Chair of Trustees, Ambitious about Autism

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