A unique programme to help people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome into work today (Jan 11) received the backing of the Minister for the Disabled, Esther McVey, MP for Wirral West.

Picture Shows left to right Esther McVey (MP) and Dianne Asher (Chief Executive) Wirral Autistic Society.

The minister heard details of the scheme when she visited the Wirral Autistic Society, who received a £265,000 grant from the Big Lottery to fund the Step into Work programme.

Only 15 per cent of people with Asperger’s are in full-time paid employment and the vast majority of employers have little or no understanding of the problems that such people face. The scheme involves training, advice and support for both those seeking work and employers themselves. So far 17 people have successfully completed 12-week work placement programmes and more are in the pipeline.

Beverley Breen, Step into Work programme manager said: “One of the biggest barriers to employment is difficulty understanding the social aspects of work which means people have difficulty relating to supervisors or other workers, difficulties understanding instructions, tone of voice and facial expressions or asking too many questions. However, with the right support, people with autism and Asperger’s can contribute effectively to the workplace.”

After meeting staff and some of those benefiting from the programme, Esther McVey said: “There is no doubt that people with autism and Asperger’s can find the world of work a considerable challenge, but with the right help and support they can enjoy success.

I am most impressed by the way the Step into Work programme is helping to bridge the gap into employment and look forward to hearing more success stories as the programme rolls forward.”

Anyone interested in joining the free programme should contact Beverley Breen on 07557 859000 or 0151 643 5551 ext 2.