“All my life I have been judged on what I couldn’t do and not on my true abilities. Like a flower, I am now able to bloom. It literally saved my life and has had far reaching effects as I can help others now.”
Our Employment Program
This week is Adult Learners’ Week and we are thrilled to be celebrating it with our Employment Programme continuing in RCT in partnership with the DWP.
We are running the Employment Programme from ALL Rhondda Cynon Taff Job Centres.
If you access any of the Job Centres in Rhondda Cynon Taff and are interested in the Employment Programme then please get in touch with us by emailing us at [email protected] or contacting your local Job Centre/work coach.
To get involved simply get in touch by emailing us at [email protected] or contact your local job centre.
We met Louise Knight in 2018. Louise had never worked and was on long term sick having just received a diagnosis of autism as well as having two young autistic sons. She took part in our very first Employment Programme where she flourished.
At first, Louise was quiet and anxious, however as the course went on, she befriended others on the course. She had a natural gift for listening to people and helping them. One part of the Employment Programme was a mock interview, in which, Louise impressed so much that the employer giving the mock interview offered her a job there and then.
Louise took the job but, a lack of understanding by the employer of reasonable adjustments led to her losing the job after only a few weeks. Although we were disappointed for her, in view of how well she had done on the programme, we offered Louise a role as our Help Hub Adviser
Following a series of discussions, we implemented several reasonable adjustments which allowed Louise to flourish and perform her role exceptionally. Louise now manages the Help Hub and last year (2019) she handled over 2000 calls and engagements on the Helphub including face to face meetings to support other autistic adults.
Louise’s ability to listen and understand autism from her own personal experiences makes her an invaluable member of the team and a reassuring ear to the autistic people who call our Help Hub. She makes people feel truly understood by being the real person at the end of the line.
When asked about this Louise explains,
“If they have someone that doesn’t judge, is empathic, understanding and listening, just one, it can make a lonely world less scary and sad”.
“We make sure no judgements are made or tell them how they should feel, or what they should do. It is important to us that their feelings are recognised.”
Louise can then guide on a range of issues the autism community faces, from employment, personal independence payment, benefits, diagnosis services, housing and social isolation. There can be some very challenging issues that Louise has had to deal with:
“They sometimes have melt-downs, sometimes they swear but I stay steadfast. They will do these things. For them to know I’m not walking away is a big thing. That is when trust develops. In this world there are so many walking alone and confused.
I’m their friend. Hearing someone laugh after they’ve been so upset is magic.”
It is great that the Help Hub has also been able to support her sons to get the help they need. From securing them the PIP benefits they need to gaining educational advice and support. It has been a really positive outcome for the whole family!
EMPOWERING PEOPLE AND BUSINESS
The Autism Directory | Employment Program offers a range of services to support autistic people into and within employment. We focus on the differences we all have and see these as strengths that benefit both individuals and potential employers