Employment Futures

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

For Charlotte Settle, overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety made it difficult for her to secure paid employment - until she was offered a lifeline by the North East Autism Society.

The 27-year-old was referred to the Personal Mentor Programme (PMP) in January 2021 and spent six months being supported by Employment Specialist Michael Knaggs.

The programme, which is delivered by the charity’s Employment Futures provision, aims to help neurodiverse adults back into employment.

“I have learned a lot in six months,” Charlotte says.

I’ve learned that I can do things and not to give up too easily. Michael also told me to focus on things I enjoy and to fight the worry and stress and not let it win.

Charlotte, who lives in Marske-by-the-Sea in Teesside, says her strengths lie in helping people and she’d ideally like to work within a care or education setting.

“I'm really good at listening and communicating with people, making sure people are alright and helping them in any way that I can,” she says.

Despite having never had a paid job, Charlotte has done plenty of volunteering and recently secured a voluntary position at a local care home, where her skills will be put to good use.

“Michael got me the support I need,” Charlotte, who has learning difficulties, adds.

I’m so pleased about my volunteering placement and now I know that I can find the right job for me when the time is right.

Charlotte, who has qualifications in food safety, IT, activity leadership and first aid at work, is feeling optimistic about her career prospects and recently enrolled onto an online maths course. 

During her time on the PMP, she also completed a number of modules including the Do It Profiler, CV building, cover letter writing, job application and interview preparation and ways to manage anxiety.

And Michael also worked with Charlotte around the issues of positive disclosure, reasonable adjustments, access to work and disability confident employers.

“Charlotte has done so well, and I feel her confidence has really grown,” Michael says. “She gave me some lovely feedback saying she had achieved more in 6 months working with me than she had over a 2-year period with other provisions.

“I feel she really benefited from a calm approach that was not rushed and sensitive to her needs,” Michael adds.

Charlotte adds: “I want other people to know that Employment Futures can support you through everything, no matter what you’ve gone through.

I received the support I needed and so much more. I'm really happy and [feel I can] keep moving forward and find the right job, even though I have learning difficulties.

Click here to find out more about Employment Futures