Select a Category

York St John teams up with National Autistic Society to investigate autism employment gap

York St John University has partnered with the National Autistic Society’s Harrogate and District branch to hold an autism and employment conference on Tuesday 7 April.

The conference, taking place during World Autism Awareness Month, will highlight key developments in the autism and employment sector, featuring speakers from business, academia and autism charities. It will draw on research from autistic academics, supported employment specialists and other experts to explore the barriers and solutions to meaningful employment for autistic people.

Caroline Stevens, recently appointed Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society (NAS), will open the conference, with keynote talks from autistic academic Dr Steven Kapp and Ambitious About Autism’s CEO Jolanta Losato. Dr Jonathan Vincent, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, Linguistics & Psychology at York St John University and a renowned researcher on autism, will be speaking about his recent findings regarding autistic graduates making their transition from university. Workshops throughout the day will address topics such as accessing employment adjustments, disclosure, transitions from university and self-employment.

Dr Vincent comments, “My research has shown that employment is a really significant aspect of many autistic people’s lives – it brings structure and meaning, which leads to other capabilities such as financial and practical independence. Through keynote talks and more discursive workshops, we hope to identify the means by which autistic people can fulfil their potential in work that is both meaningful and right for them.”

Muhammad El-Dharrat is the newly-elected Chair of the York branch of NAS. He is passionate about developing employment talent among autistic people, and has carved out a niche for himself in self-employment through basketball coaching, business consultancy and more recently App development. Muhammad said, “I am really excited to be part of the Autism & Employment Conference at York St John University – it is important to draw out and nurture skills that frequently remain hidden. Using myself as an example, I am keen to open the way for self-employment for autistic adults, discovering and nurturing untapped talent, by empowering positive ideas and transforming them into business successes.”

The conference takes place on Tuesday 7 April from 9am to 4pm in De Grey Court at York St John University. The event is suitable for autistic adults and working age young people, parents/carers, employers interested in developing more inclusive structures, and other professionals. Tickets and details of the programme can be accessed here.