Employment Futures

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

WHEN Erin Simblett enrolled on a brand-new youth employment programme, she never imagined she’d be walking away with a permanent job, two voluntary positions and an impressive CV.

Now, having completed the 16-week YESNE course, 20-year-old Erin says she is filled with newfound confidence and has also gained invaluable practical experience in real working environments. 

Erin, from Sunderland, was referred to YESNE - which is delivered by the North East Autism Society’s Employment Futures provision - by the Job Centre. And she says the programme has helped her to develop skills, boosted her confidence, and provided her a wealth of with relevant experience in her chosen career field.

“I’ve always wanted to be a youth worker and did health and social care and ICT at Sunderland College” Erin says.

Through YESNE I have been doing work experience in one of the North East Autism Society’s children’s homes. It’s going really well and I love working with the children.

As well as her placement with NEAS, Erin has also done work experience with a youth programme in Sunderland, where she now volunteers every Sunday boost her experience and understanding of youth work and SEN support. 

“At the Youth Almighty Project we take young people out for the day and do all kinds of activities, from arts and crafts and games, to playing on the Xbox or PlayStation. It’s a lot of fun.”

In January 2022, Erin also landed a permanent, part-time role with Sunderland City Council where she supports local people by preparing food parcels, having previously completed voluntary work with the local authority.

Mary Murton, Erin’s course mentor at YESNE, says she has made “tremendous progress” during her time on the programme and is confident that she will go on to achieve her dream of becoming a youth worker.

“It has been a pleasure to watch Erin’s confidence grow and she has responded well to workshops and our YESNE Project,” Mary says. 

Erin has a deep social conscience and this shows in her commitment to volunteering and also her commitment to the YESNE Placements. I’m proud of Erin for trying new things and wish her all the best as she moves not just in to one job but TWO new jobs!

“Erin’s references are outstanding and I’m sure she can look forward to a promising career.”

Asked if she’d recommend YESNE to other young people seeking help with finding employment, or accessing further training or education, Erin adds: “Yes, and I would tell them it’s nothing to be nervous about. Just go and do it!

“Before starting the programme I felt quite nervous about it, mostly about meeting new people,” Erin says. “But Mary has helped me with my confidence and now I feel much more confident about talking to people.”

YESNE is currently accepting referrals for the next cohort, which is set to begin in April 2022. Workshops will be delivered at the YESNE offices in North Shields and Sunderland.

Find out more about YESNE