More tech jobs for autistic adults in Scotland

Social enterprise aims to create more jobs for autistic adults in Scotland after launching a new Edinburgh base

Social enterprise, Auticon UK, which exclusively employs IT consultants on the autism spectrum, is now working with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Under the partnership, Auticon is offering full-time permanent jobs to three autistic consultants.

Auticon, which raised investment from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation charity in 2016, plans to expand its workforce in Scotland by working with major local companies and small and medium-sized enterprises.

A National Autistic Society survey in 2016 found only 16% of autistic adults were in full-time employment, despite 77% of autistic people who were unemployed saying they wanted to work.

Speaking to the BBC, Auticon consultant Thomas Cowley, who has just completed a project for a London-based 3D printing company, said working for the enterprise felt “refreshingly normal”.

Cowley has a degree in computer games design from Staffordshire University and said working for Auticon “Makes me feel valued.”

“The biggest difference is the amount of support I get, and that is a big help.”

“I sit down with people every week or so, and work through the difficulties that in other companies I might simply let fester, which is a huge help.”

Auticon UK chief executive Ray Coyle said unemployment among autistic adults was “a major issue” in Scotland.

He added: “Our goal is to offer sustainable, long-term employment to as many autistic individuals in Scotland as possible, and we are inviting any candidates with a background in tech to get in touch.”

Auticon advises its clients on how to create an autism-friendly work environment and also offers its consultants support “to ensure they feel comfortable and are able to fulfil their potential in the workplace”.

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