CareTade support young people living in London who are 18-25 years old. The majority of the young people that we work with would be NEET if we were not supporting them.
It is estimated that 1 in 100 people in the UK are on the autistic spectrum. Autism is a lifelong disability. These figures equate to 8,000 school leavers with autism every year in the UK. 830 of these young people live in London. Less than half have additional learning difficulties yet their chances of getting a job is only 15% (this compares to 74% of the general population and 48% of the disabled population as a whole) and just 4% live independently.
The main aim is to help young people with autism to gain paid employment or an apprenticeship of choice. It also seeks to help young people develop independent travel skills and increase their self confidence in social as well as work situations.
The Autism Project is a full time 2 year employment programme for young people on the autism spectrum who would like to work but need more confidence, support skills and experience. We use a module based learning system so students can start at the beginning of any term and progress at a pace that best meets their individual needs.
All students follow our supported internship curriculum for their first term and typically students will spend 3 terms (their first year) following this: they will learn within real work experience placements within either Guy’s or St. Thomas’ hospitals four days a week, supported by work-place mentors and specialist job coaches and attend class once a week, where they learn valuable employability and independent living skills and work towards City & Guilds qualifications. The objective is for young people to become ‘work-ready’ and to have gained a reference from their workplace.
Students’ progress to the Year two curriculum once ‘work-ready’, typically in term 4, where the focus is on greater independence in the workplace (with a wider range of employers). Students are supported to develop their interview and communication skills and to actively seek and hopefully gain paid employment, a paid apprenticeship or further vocational training of choice. In year two students access weekly 1:1 job search sessions.
The Autism Project (TAP) staff use person centred planning and our aim is to help all students reach their individual goals as defined in their Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP). Throughout the course there is a high level of 1:1 support. From September 2017 all our students will have access to our new counselling service.
In addition The Autism Project supports young people to improve their independent living skills, become involved in their community and take steps to stay healthy through enrichment activities and social groups that run across all CareTrade services. This includes travel training.
Who is the service for? Young adults with a diagnosis of autism, living in London
Criteria for access to service: A diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, aged 18-25, wants to work. Has or is in the process of being assessed for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
How are decisions made to access the service: The Autism Project has an admissions policy which is strictly adhered to and is available on request. See ‘How can I access this service’ for further information.
Qualifications and Training provided: City & Guilds Employability Qualifications (Entry 2 to Level 2) and Function Skills in English & Maths as needed, intensive supported work experience (approx. 600 hours in year 1), and a mock interview programme.
Employment Opportunities has been running since October 2013. The young people currently on the programme have all come from either education, TAP @GSTT or were classed as NEET. We have been able to give them the opportunity to continue their training and experience work in real working situations with a variety of employers. The programme is part time and students are expected to attend for a minimum of 1-2 days a week, this may increase if they undertake a work experience placement.
There is also a six week programme of one-day workshops throughout the year. We also offer Access to Work support to adults with autism within London and training and consultancy for Employers.
Drop in service: Our students are able to see the job coach anytime during their working hours and parents, social workers etc. are able to get in contact to arrange meetings.
Accessibility of this service: Students (and their parents/carers) are responsible for ensuring students are able to get from home to their work placements (and back at the end of the day). We have a job coach and workplace mentors who will assist students with any daily needs or difficulties they may face in their work placements and travel training forms part of the programme. Individuals need to be responsible for their own personal care, lunch-times and getting around the hospital independently.
How is this provided?
This service will be provided initially by 4 days a week work placement within Guys and St Thomas hospital, supported by trained mentors and managers with regular visits from CareTrade mentor and job coach, combined with class based learning once a week. Employability and Function Skills are taught.
Students will then progress onto placements in different organisations for 2 days a week, whilst being supported to achieve any relevant qualifications or training for their desired career, plus support with CV writing, job searches and applications and mock interview practice.
How can I access this service? We accept referrals from Local Authorities and directly from young people.
Applicants should complete a TAP application form and supply copies of documents as requested including a copy of a current EHCP where applicable. We hold informal interviews with all applicants (who meet our primary criteria) and all suitable applicants are invited to complete a half day assessment and DBS check.
All students are required to have an EHCP in place prior to starting. Any additional support needs should be discussed when applying to ensure the correct support is in place prior to starting.
How is this service funded? A young person’s place is funded by their Local Authority (usually by Education but sometimes Social Services or a combination of these). This usually requires an EHCP to be in place or for an assessment to be in progress. Occasionally a student may be funded otherwise.
Do you need to pay for this service? See above
Confidentiality and Impartiality: The service is confidential and you will be asked for permission for us to speak with professionals on your behalf. We have a duty to report safeguarding issues.
Cognition and learning, Communication and Interaction, Emotional, social & mental health difficulties.
Post 16, Transition to adult services.
Community & Voluntary Sector Service, Consultancy Service, Education Service, Information, Guidance & Advocacy Service , SEND Products & Resources, Specialist Educational Setting and/or Outreach Service, Targeted Service & Specialist Practitioners .
Referrals are accepted at any time of the year. Application is via an application form and intrerview.