Awetistic – A project needing help to help others

Stepping out of my comfort zone is a regular thing. Trying to find my inner Casanova as I look for love and trying to ask for help in making an ambitious project that shouldn’t have to be ambitious are two scary tasks!

The first nightmare is personal. #OperationCuddles. The second, however, is something lots of people can benefit from. This unveiling of a project (hopefully a future social enterprise) I’m planning to help jobseekers with autism in South Staffordshire (Lichfield, Burton-on-Trent, Stafford, Tamworth and surrounding areas) may come across as a beg but that isn’t the intention. Far from it.

According to The National Autistic Society, only 15% of all British people with autism are in full-time jobs. Positive traits of autism including an honest viewpoint, passionate interest and a keen eye for detail are employable skills missed out on. Confidence and self-esteem can grow from being given a chance to work.

Through Awetistic, a simple project with a simple objective, I want to give up my time and resources to help people find work because I’ve found work myself. I need help too though. Asking makes me feel unwell but I need to ask. If you’re intrigued, whether you’re a jobseeker, employer, businessman or businesswoman, journalist or somebody raising autism awareness, can I please be different in reaching you here with my vision?

Trying to improve the employment situation for jobseekers with autism isn't just work for me. It's a labour of love. Can you please help in making Awetistic a success?

Trying to improve the employment situation for jobseekers with autism isn’t just work for me. It’s a labour of love. Can you please help in making Awetistic a success?

Forget Rain Man!

Sure, there are people living with severe affects of autism but there are a number of people with autism who blend in too. Every affect isn’t obvious. Through being employed and being self-employed, I’ve had one insignificant moment where living with autism may have been apparent that was easily dealt with.

Small changes can make big differences. For me, it was a tissue and a conversation. For somebody else, it could be the use of glasses with tinted lenses or ear plugs to cut out sensitivity from light or sound. It could be giving personal space if constantly communicating is difficult.

Autism may seem complex but it doesn’t have to be. It can be broken down and dealt with. For employers, wider talent pools can be created with exceptional talent filling them as Microsoft and SAP are finding out. In my experience as a university student, volunteering and work experience have given me a chance to develop work skills and helped me to become confident by working with likeminded people for nothing but passion.

Is a negative attitude towards autism the problem? Are jobseekers who cannot find work applying for vacancies they aren’t qualified or skilled for? Do covering letters and CVs need tweaking?

I want to find the answer in setting up Awetistic. To make a small change throughout South Staffordshire in hoping the project will be part of a large change, I want to introduce jobseekers to employers. I want to offer an education to both sides that comes from freelance public speaking work I currently do and an interest in employment sparked from the development of Autistic Achievers, a project I launched that ran nationally during 2013.

Initial interest in Awetistic will mean I’ll look for funding in turning the project into a social enterprise. If jobseekers will be willing to find work and if employers will be willing to offer it, I’ll handle the introduction but I’ll need help in making it happen.

If you’re a jobseeker, would you like to share your experiences and passions at an Awetistic focus group on Monday 1st June 2015? You can find out more about the event and book a place here.

If you’re an employer, could I please offer you and your employees an insight into autism at no cost?

If you’re a businessman or businesswoman, can you please offer resources to bring Awetistic to life? In return, you would be mentioned in promotional literature for the project looking to do good as a supporter.

If you’re a reporter, will it be possible to please spread the word of Awetistic to jobseekers in your local community who could benefit from it?

If you have an interest in autism, whether you live with autism yourself or whether you have a professional interest, can you please spare some time as a volunteer like I’m doing if you’d like to spread positivity?

Awetistic is dependent on help to be a success. I want to help in raising the employment level for people with autism but can only do it with help myself. I’d love to make a difference together with you.

*If not, dog walking is the next plan on the list.