London based autism charity launches internship program to provide people with autism vital work experience


Autism charity launch their new internship program September 2020. BeyondAutism have just recruited two new interns who have autism themselves, providing them the opportunity to gain real work experience, as well as learning new important skills across different departments within the organisation. BeyondAutism run several services across London, providing children with autism access to outstanding education, as well as an Early Years’ service to support parents with younger children & Post-19 hubs to assist young adults in finding employment.

“With only 16% of adults with autism in full time paid employment, finding a job if you have autism already presented quite a few challenges, so we created our internship program with this in mind. We wanted to make sure that the opportunities were available for people with autism to better prepare them for the working environment. Now is a more important time than ever, with the recent impacts of COVID-19 on the job market making it difficult for everyone. The other piece of this jigsaw is training and support of employers and we are developing a toolkit with funding from the City Bridge Trust to supplement our training packages” Tracie Linehan, CEO, BeyondAutism

Each intern will spend an academic year with the charity that will be split 50/50 between paid project work and work experience. The work experience is broken up into 6 different placements, each offering the interns hands on work experience to develop their skills in different areas so they can work out what type of career they might like to pursue. The other half of their time will be spent working on a project within the organisation that they will see from start to finish. This is so they can experience planning and creation, which will further their skills to attract potential future employers. Supported by an in-house job coach and a mentor in each department, the interns will develop the tools they need to apply for jobs once the internship ends.

“There has been a welcomed move recently amongst larger tech firms to create more autism inclusive internship programs. With employers seeing the value that people with autism can bring to the workforce. The UK Government has also announced an internship program for people with autism launching in 2021 and our new vocational toolkit will help more businesses become autism inclusive. The internship has so far proved a success with the interns who really seem to be enjoying themselves and feel that the program will be extremely beneficial to their future careers” David Anthony, Head of Research & Learning, BeyondAutism

“It has been very interesting so far. I first heard about it through a job coach at Bromley Mencap, who applied on my behalf. I was very surprised when I got an interview and was then offered the position. Currently, I am working with Fundraising, and finding out in great detail about how it works. The other departments I will touch base with over the year are Finance, Research and Learning, Marketing and Comms, HR and the Schools themselves (where I will be based on the school sites). This is the one that I think will be the most interesting part, and I can’t wait!” Martin Kelly, Intern, BeyondAutism

Helping adults with autism into the workplace is something that BeyondAutism is passionate about. They have a dedicated Post-19 service that offers guidance and support to members of the community as well as creating and delivering tools and resources to business helping them become more autism inclusive. In September 2021 BeyondAutism are looking to expand their internship and recruit up to 6 new interns and urge anyone who is interested to get in touch.

BeyondAutism is a charity with a vision that everyone with autism accesses an education which empowers a life full of choice, independence, and opportunity. They run outstanding educational services for children and young adults with autism aged 15 months to 25 years, as well as supporting young adults with finding employment. The charity also provides outreach and training services for parents, carers and professionals.