The prime minister Gordon Brown has been urged to launch an autism compact with employers by Ivan Corea, who heads the Autism Awareness Campaign UK.
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder and, according to estimates, there are around 600,000 people with autism in the UK. UK researchers estimate one in 100 children may have autism.
The Autism Awareness Campaign UK called on Gordon Brown to launch an Autism Compact with employers – a national scheme with local government, employers and the voluntary sector as partners to help some people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, who may be able to work, to access the labour market.
At present very small schemes run by the volunary sector and charities and a national scheme is badly needed.
Campaigners also called for companies to train staff on autism and Asperger’s syndrome and to provide work experience opportunities for young people with autism. “This is a two-way process of understanding so we hope that major companies will take this on board, people with autism need paid jobs,” said Ivan Corea who recently met Gordon Brown.
Ivan Corea together with Lee Scott MP met former prime minister Tony Blair on 25 April and presented him with the autism report detailing concerns and recommendations – this included the whole area of labour market opportunities.The Government has yet to tackle the issue of providing employment opportunities for people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome on a national scale.
Parliamentarians of all parties are signing an early day motion on autism in the House of Commons – EDM 1359 – supporting the call for labour market opportunities.
The Autism Awareness Campaign UK is calling for a national strategy on autism and a 10-year plan of action.