Ambitious About Autism

In October 2021 the University of Greenwich teamed up with Santander Universities UK and Ambitious about Autism  to provide summer internships for autistic students and recent graduates.

This scheme helps to improve employability for autistic graduates who typically struggle to find work after university, by providing training for employers and paid eight-week internships over summer. Mary Davies, Head of Alumni and Development announced the scheme, saying:

We’re really looking forward to working with our autistic students to match  their talents to autism-confident employers who can support their needs and allow them to thrive in the workplace.

The Employability and Careers Service at Greenwich encouraged autistic students to apply for internships hosted by organisations including the Rail Delivery Group, LawDeb , CoachBright, and the University of Greenwich.

Jed (second-year BSc Mathematics) joined the University of Greenwich Alumni Team over the summer as part of the scheme, and had the following to say about his experience:

I've never had a proper job until now, so when I was selected for the  Employ Autism  internship programme I was extremely grateful. Now that I have proper 9-to-5  work experience among accommodating colleagues, I feel like I'm ready for anything!

A graduate who also took part in the scheme and joined the Alumni Team at Greenwich said:

Recent data highlighted that just 22% of autistic adults were in employment. The topic of employment is challenging: many of us (autistic adults) have specific needs that aren’t catered to in many workplaces – making them inaccessible, and leading to missed opportunities. Personally, I was nervous about employment following the completion of university. This scheme has allowed me to gain experience in a flexible manner, designed to be suitable for the different requirements I may have, where colleagues have been informed about adaptations they can make to help me and provide a better working environment. With adjustments and simple understanding from others, I am able to be as productive as a neurotypical individual. The Employ Autism  scheme has provided that opportunity. With this internship in a professional real-world working environment, I have gained a better understanding of what to expect from a workplace, alongside evidenced experience that may improve my chances of gaining future employment. Additionally, I have been working in a team with very welcoming and understanding colleagues, which has helped to improve my confidence.