TalkTalk, a leading value for money broadband, TV and phone provider, has partnered with national charity Ambitious about Autism to launch ‘Employ Autism’ in the North West.
The charity’s nationwide employability programme will aim to prepare 10,000 autistic young people for work by 2022. This year it expands to the North West and TalkTalk will be the Lead Partner for the programme, offering a number of placements across various functions over the summer.
The partnership will connect employers, educational institutions, local authorities, specialist agencies, and most importantly young people. All participants will be offered paid, meaningful work placements, providing access to specialist careers advice and work experience to support their transition from education to employment.
Only 16% of autistic adults in full-time employment representing a £32 billion cost to the UK economy each year.* Statistics that Ambitious about Autism and TalkTalk are aiming to reverse.
By breaking down the barriers to employment for autistic young people across the country Employ Autism will change the system, increasing the percentage of autistic people in fulltime employment, and enabling places of employment to be truly neurodiverse.
TalkTalk’s CEO Tristia Harrison and Ambitious about Autism’s Chief Executive Jolanta Lasota officially launched the programme at the ISP’s HQ – Soapworks in Salford – on the 5th February. They were joined by Ali MacCallum, CEO of media group Kinetic, who shared his experience of managing young people on the Employ Autism programme.
Other prominent local businesses attended, including the BBC, ITV and Marks & Spencer, and were encouraged to join the partnership after being presented with shared experiences from those who have already benefitted from the programme.
TalkTalk has had a longstanding relationship with Ambitious about Autism, raising an impressive £4 million for the charity since 2006. This is the first time they have partnered with the charity on a project in Salford.
TalkTalk Chief Executive, Tristia Harrison, explains:
“TalkTalk has always celebrated diversity and promoted inclusion in the workplace.
“We are proud to be partnering with Ambitious about Autism to enable thousands of autistic young adults reach fulltime employment. Through showcasing the wonderful capabilities of this programme at our event we hope this will encourage other leading businesses to follow suit.”
Jolanta Lasota, Ambitious about Autism Chief Executive, said:
“Many autistic young people face bleak employment prospects – and yet we know these young people have so much to offer the workplace.
“Neurodiversity and different ways of thinking and problem solving can bring huge benefits to businesses, and we hope our Employ Autism programme will help employers unlock this untapped potential.
“We hugely appreciate TalkTalk’s support in partnering with us, reinforcing its recognition of the significant and positive impact these programmes can have.”
Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said:
“It is fantastic to hear Talk Talk’s plans for the Ambitious about Autism programme and showcasing the work they are doing to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace to other businesses.
“Figures show that nationally just 16% of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment, only up by one per cent from ten years ago so there is a long way to go.
“TalkTalk is at the forefront of this movement and has raised millions over the past decade to push autism awareness forwards and we are proud to have the business and their employees in our city. “
This partnership follows TalkTalk’s HQ relocation from London to Salford and its major recruitment drive across the region, creating 350 new jobs in the region.
The internet company is also a member of the UK Government’s Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme which is committed to growing the economy in the North of England.