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Autism is one of a number of conditions under the umbrella term neurodiversity. According to the National Autistic Society’s figures, there are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK. Their autism employment gap report highlights that only 16 per cent of autistic adults of working age are in full time paid employment.

Autism standards and competency framework

The Autism Education Trust (AET), funded by the Department for Education, published a set of post-16 Standards to enable FE and Skills providers to evaluate their practice in addressing the needs of young people from 16 to 25 on the autism spectrum. The development of these standards was created in close collaboration with the development of the AET post-16 Competency Framework.

An image of the DfE Autism Competency Framework document

Autism resource guide

An image of the Autism resource guide cover

The Autism resource guide aims to provide teachers and trainers in the FE sector with an understanding of the potential impact of autism on learning and how to better support learners to achieve their full potential. The guide focuses on autism and related conditions from a neurodiversity perspective, including how staff can make the most of an individual’s strengths and positive characteristics that may be associated with their neurodiverse condition. The resource explores the signs, symptoms, behaviours and provides top tips for adapting communication, teaching strategies, and environment to enable learners to thrive.

The guide is designed to be used alongside the ETF course to help you support autistic learners which the ETF offer as an in-house course. A taster session for this course is freely available online. 

Transition to employment toolkit

Ambitious about Autism have created a new employment toolkit to support autistic young people into the job market. The toolkit has been developed to tackle the low autism employment rate, which is currently at 22% and the lowest of all disabled groups. It aims to prevent autistic young people from falling out of education, employment or training when they leave school. The toolkit has sections for autistic young people, careers professionals and employers. It can be downloaded as a whole or as individual sections, and includes lots of editable forms and templates. The Transition to employment toolkit is free to download from their website. 

Ambitious about Autism

The following webinars are held monthly by Ambitious about Autism, more details and how to book can be found on their website.

Safeguarding and prevent

The ETF has published resources to support learners with autism to support your work with safeguarding and prevent duty. The resources Making British values meaningful for learners with autism and Helping learners with autism understand how to keep safe from radicalisation and extremism are available for download on the ETF's Prevent for Further Education and training site, select links to Practitioners, Curriculum materials and SEND. 


Image of the Helping learners with autism understand how to keep safe from radicalisation and extremism    Making British values meaningful for learners with autism

The autism employment gap

The National Autistic Society published a report in 2016, The autism employment gap, based on a series of focus groups and surveys carried out with autistic adults and employers. The responses to the survey indicated just 16% of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment and 16% in some form of part-time employment; making an overall rate of 32%. The report recommends actions that the Government, local authorities and employers could take to reduce the autism employment gap.

An image of the Autism employment gap report by The National Autistic Society

Quick links

Ambitious about Autism -  charity for children and young people with autism providing education and employment services.

Autism Education Trust - provides training and resources to teachers and managers working with learners with autism.

National Autistic Society - charity for autistic people (including those with Asperger Syndrome) and their families. They provide an autism helpline for people with autism and their families.

RNIB Bookshare - RNIB Bookshare supports learners with a print disability to access the curriculum. They provide accessible textbooks and resources for sight loss, dyslexia ,dyspraxia, autism and qualifying physical disabilities. The service is free to UK education organisations.

Related Resources

An image of the guide Making British values meaningful for learners with Autism

Making British Values meaningful for learners with autism - Teachers' guide 2019

An image of the guide Helping learners with autism understand how to keep safe from radicalisation and extremism

Helping learners with autism understand how to keep safe from radicalisation and extremism - Teachers' guide 2019

Screenshot from the webinar, Supporting learners with autism back into FE

Supporting learners with Autism back into the FE and HE environment

An image of the autism employment gap report by the National Autistic Society

The autism employment gap report