Joining the Autism@Work Pilot Program

The aim of the pilot is to implement autism training and support tools into the usual DES process of helping you to find and keep a job.

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How does the Autism@Work program work?

For 12 months the Autism@Work pilot program will work alongside the Disability Employment Service (DES) program in eight pilot DES sites. The aim of the pilot is to implement autism training and support tools into the usual DES process of helping you to find and keep a job.  The aim of the pilot program is to increase DES provider and employer confidence when supporting people on the autism spectrum into work and increase successful employment outcomes for DES participants on the autism spectrum.  

The intended benefits of participating in this pilot are:  

  • improved work readiness and workplace support for you,  
  • improved autism awareness and support from your provider and  
  • improved autism understanding and support from any employers you work with. 

Participating DES staff will have access to education, training and support tools to enhance their understanding of autism and gain a better understanding of individual working styles and work preferences.  Participating employers will gain training on how to support autistic employees in the workplace. As a participant you will have access to information on job applications, attending interviews and understanding the unwritten social rules of the workplace.

As an autistic adult, you have skills, strengths and experience that many Australian businesses are seeking. We hope through participating in the pilot program you will have a better understanding of your strengths and what the right job for you is. We want to help you understand and navigate the social rules of the workplace, and most of all we want to help your employment consultant and employer learn more about autism and your workplace support needs.

To participate in the Autism@Work pilot the first thing you need to do is sign a consent form and give it to your Employment Consultant.

Participants who are under 18 years of age need a signed form from a guardian or parent consenting to participation in the Autism@Work pilot.  Your employment consultant will then be able to work with you to get a good understanding of your autism needs, your job readiness and consider suitable job opportunities that may exist for you.

Taking part gives you the opportunity to give your feedback about how the pilot worked.   This will help the evaluators to learn if the tools, materials and supports used in the pilot have been effective for you, or if they could be improved.

Who is the Autism@Work program is for?

The pilot will run with the DES provider who gave you this form from October 2020 to October 2021. The pilot program is available to jobseekers who have a diagnosis of autism and are registered participants of a DES site participating in the Autism@Work pilot program. Other autistic jobseekers registered with this DES, at any stage of their employment journey, may also be involved in the pilot. 

What can you expect as an Autism@Work program participant?

Supporting resources that will be available to participants during the pilot: 

  • Work accommodation assessment and profile to outline any supports required in the workplace 
  • Resume, cover letter and interview skills training 
  • Training in the hidden curriculum of the workplace: work expectations and social skills training 
  • A work performance tool 
  • An optional mobile device support application   

Participating in the Autism@Work pilot program is no extra effort for you. It is about bringing autism and employment supporting resources to you to better prepare you for future employment.  You are not guaranteed a job out of participating, however we hope that you will feel understood and heard throughout your employment journey.  We cannot guarantee that you will end up with the job of your dreams, however we hope that you will have a better understanding of the jobs that match your strengths and interests.

All we ask is that you tell us what you think of the information on the website and that your Employment Consultant uses with you so that we know if it is helpful and useful and it enable us to make improvements along the way. We will send an anonymous short questionnaire to you every 3 months to ask your feedback. Please tell us, as you can help shape the outcome of this 12 month pilot program.

Is the Autism@Work program right for you?

If you are not sure about whether you would like to take part in the Autism@Work program there is more information about the program on the Autism@Work information sheet that can be shown to your family or someone else that you trust to help you make your decision.

You may like to discuss the program with you family or someone else that you trust to help make your decision.

If you have questions about what the pilot or the evaluation will involve, please talk to your Employment Consultant. If they are unable to answer your question for any reason, they will be able to escalate your question via a supporting Autism helpdesk

If the Autism@Work program is not right for you, you can choose not to take part in the pilot and evaluation. You can tell your employment consultant that you do not want them to use any of the materials developed for this pilot. The employment consultant will work with you in the usual DES process. 

This pilot will not affect any supports you may currently get or at any time in the future.   Whether or not you choose to take part, there will be no effect on your support from your DES provider, your job, your wages, your Disability Support Pension (if you receive one) or the other supports you may currently receive.  

If you wish to take part in the pilot and the evaluation, return the consent form to your Employment Consultant at your DES provider as soon as possible. If you are under 18 you will need to have consent from a parent or guardian. 

If you choose to take part in the pilot and evaluation, you can change your mind later and decide not to participate. You just need to let your Employment Consultant know.