What is PRO Autism?

What is PRO Autism?

Pro Autism stands for Prospects, Recruitment and Opportunities for autistic adults. 

Pro-Autism is a small but varied group of hopeful people in York. They are committed to identifying positive steps towards better employment opportunities for young autistic adults leaving Further and Higher Education.

The Event: Friday 16th June  

Sophie and Olivia attended an event held on Friday 16th June at York St John University. The focus of the day was to learn from each other and work collaboratively to identify the best practices for enabling successful employment for autistic adults and to use this information to build an online toolkit for others to use. We were welcomed by Jonathan Vincent, Lecturer at York St John University and Dr Fiona Thompson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor. We had the opportunity to listen some guest speakers and to hear their perspective as well as join in workshops about the range of issues in applying for jobs, disclosure, physical and social-emotional workplace adjustments.

An employee’s perspective by Gill Loomes

During her talk, Gill Loomes shared an interesting poem about being autistic and fitting in with the world and about how the world could change to allow autistic people to fit in. It is called “Manifesto behind the mask” by Janine Booth. Click here to listen.

An employer’s perspective by Cheryl Winter, Director of In-work Support at Genius Within

Cheryl discussed the strengths and qualities of people with autism and how individuals need greater awareness of people on this spectrum to prevent misunderstandings. It was great to see past the stereotype of autism and focus on someone’s strength.

A panel discussion by Autistic employees Helen Attwood and Hannah Purnell

Helen and Hannah shared their experience of being in employment and how employers made reasonable adjustments to create a better work environment for themselves and how to overcome stigmas. They also shared some insight into negative experiences which helped them seek better employment.

Specialist employment provider perspective by Ramsay Taylor from United Response.

Ramsay looked at the current issues around gaps in employment. Currently they are building provision to help support individuals through the transition period of moving from Further and Higher Education into employment. He discussed the different processes from initially working with individuals and preparing them for work by providing mock interviews to helping them retain employment.


This event aimed pass on positivism about autism and work towards improving employment opportunities for young autistic adults. By coming together, getting everyone involved from a range of backgrounds such as employers, parents/carers, specialist employment services, FE & university staff, and especially young autistic adults and discussing the challenges, the day worked towards coming up with strategies and solutions that can bring about change.

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