Employment Futures

Employment Futures exists to help remove barriers to meaningful employment for autistic adults and/or those with learning difficulties.

HAVING been made redundant from her job of 11 years, Vicky Pervin struggled to find work.

After three years of unemployment, the 40-year-old began searching for help online and came across DiversityNE – an employment programme, delivered in partnership by the North East Autism Society and Azure Charitable Enterprises. 

Vicky, originally from Fareham, Hampshire, enrolled in August 2022. And with the support of Employment Specialist Steve Brown, Vicky thrived on the programme, growing in confidence and eventually going on to secure a 20-hour contract as a kitchen assistant. 

The job can be tiring doing a 10-hour shift, but I enjoy working as part of a team with the others, it gets me out, and I get paid!” Vicky, who lives in Newcastle, said.  

After leaving school, Vicky completed a number of college courses before securing work with Sodexo in the Junior Rates Mess at HMS Collingwood. She remained in this role for 11 years, before taking redundancy in 2017 after the job became “too demanding”.

Despite her extensive experience, Vicky then struggled to find another job and her confidence took a hit as she was out of employment for three years.

“Steve really boosted my confidence,” Vicky said. “He also helped me to update my CV, browse and apply for job vacancies, and accompanied me to interviews.”

Steve worked with Vicky for five months, meeting with her on a weekly basis, before she successfully secured the role with Solehawk in January 2023 – even being offered the position on the same day that she interviewed.

“Victoria showed excellent commitment on programme and was extremely motivated to secure employment,” Steve said.  

“During our initial meetings we focused on updating Victoria’s CV and improving her confidence by focusing on the wide range of skills and attributes Victoria developed from her previous employment roles.”

And it seems the job was a perfect fit, as Victoria has since been selected as employee of the month for Solehawk, a group of four care homes providing residential, palliative, respite and dementia care and nursing services in Newcastle.

“It did not surprise me due to Victoria’s hard work and commitment,” Steve said. “It was a pleasure supporting Victoria on DiversityNE and I wish her every success for the future.”

Asked if she’d recommend the programme to other people, Vicky added: “Yes, if you’re like me and need some support to make it happen - but you have to be prepared to put the work into it.”

Visit the DiversityNE website