Blog contributed by John Facchnini
Employer Engagement Officer at Employment Futures

I have worked in the Welfare to Work Industry, in one capacity or another, for over 20 years, working with adults from a whole host of different backgrounds. Then, six years ago, I was given an opportunity to work for Employment Futures, within the North East Autism Society, a brand new department specifically working with autistic and other neurodivergent individuals, supporting them to find and thrive in employment. Not only this, but also raise awareness of autism to businesses in the North East of England.

Often when delivering training to organisations, the employer will experience a moment of realisation, where it 'clicks' that there is a whole group of talented, often overlooked, people, who they are missing out on, simply because they don't know where to look or how to tap in to it.

I work alongside employers and help them to make small adjustments, such as changing their recruitment processes, allowing for work trials instead of interviews, or even providing a list of interview questions to an individual, which all serve to help our clients in their search for employment. These are the moments I enjoy the most.

In my role as an Employer Engagement Officer I have had a lot of proud moments, however over the last 12 months I have been working closely with Tyne Tunnel 2 - and I hope we can replicate their journey and successes with other businesses as they live and breathe what its like to be #DisabilityConfident.

Having recruited four of our clients; they have job carved (selecting specific duties from a job role), split the role into part-time hours, offered reasonable adjustments (a quiet room, listening to music on headphones, etc), and then, to better understand autism, asked their entire staff to attend our autism awareness training – this is something I am extremely fortunate to have been a part of.

My role as an Employer Engagement Officer has been a journey, a journey I wish to be on for a long time, whether I am meeting with an employer to talk about their recruitment needs or sitting with a participant to offer advice on their CV, each day is different and every day is rewarding.

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