The University's Centre for Applied Autism Research and JP Morgan Chase will today (Wednesday 1 November) launch the Bath Employment Spring School for Autism, a new partnership to help improve employment opportunities for people living with autism.

In early 2018, the new Bath Employment Spring School for Autism will provide tailored, fully-supported opportunities to help autistic graduates find suitable graduate-level jobs. The two-day course will seek to teach students and recent graduates new skills for job hunting.

Less than 1 in 6 autistic adults employed full-time

Though there are nearly 700,000 people in the U.K. living with ASD, less than 1 in 6 autistic adults are employed full-time, and those that are employed are often in jobs below their ability. Despite possessing high-functioning skills that can make autistic people particularly well suited to certain jobs, those living with autism often lack knowledge about the job hunting process and opportunities for career paths.

This collaboration, which builds on JP Morgan Chase’s successful US programme ‘Autism at Work’, aims to help graduates with autism find work that matches their skills and attributes.

Unique set of highly-attuned skills

Dr Chris Ashwin, Deputy Director for Research in the University’s Centre for Applied Autism Research, commented: “We know that graduates with autism have a unique set of highly-attuned skills that can make them incredibly valuable to a whole range of organisations. Yet all too often, barriers are put in their way that prevent them from applying for the right kind of jobs, being successful at interview or transitioning into organisations.

“This important collaboration between the University of Bath and JP Morgan Chase is about valuing the incredible contributions that autistic people can make and finding new ways to help them find the right kinds of work. We’re excited to welcome our first cohort next year and look forward to developing this in the years to come.”

James Mahoney, Executive Director and Head of Autism at Work at JP Morgan Chase, added: “We’re delighted to expand J.P. Morgan’s Autism at Work Program with the help of the Centre for Applied Autism Research at the University of Bath. Through the programme, we’re developing better career paths for graduates with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), improving our interviewing techniques to capture strong talent and deploying new training for managers and non-ASD colleagues.

“We began a pilot program in 2015 with four people, and it has since grown to dozens of individuals across five countries in a variety of roles across the firm. Our aim is to expand to several hundred people by 2020. We look forward to continuing the success with our partnership with the Centre for Applied Autism Research.”

First cohort for 2018

A first cohort of 30 current students and recent graduates with ASD will take part in Bath Employment Spring School for Autism at JPMorgan Chase’s Bournemouth campus in 2018. The day at JPMorgan Chase’s Bournemouth campus will include a tour of the innovation space, a panel session from employees with ASD and an activity to provide insight and guidance for graduate interviews.

Across a range of research projects, the team at the Centre for Applied Autism Research work with the autistic community to improve awareness, understanding and support for people with autism. The Bath Employment Spring School for Autism complements the successful Autism Summer School which has been run since 2013 by the University to help younger students with autism transition to University.

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