Looking for Work – Ella’s story

Ella is 21 years old and unemployed, Ella talks through her experience of job hunting with Asperger’s.

I find job searching hard. Not only because I am young but because I have Asperger’s.

I also can’t work Sunday’s and at the moment don’t drive so as you can see I have a lot of barriers to finding a job.

The big job search sites are not helpful often as they don’t have the actual location of the job and the small job sites don’t have much choice especially now because of Coronavirus.

I am looking for a supported job and have had two really good supported employers who took the time to get to know me and my support needs and cater for them. Sadly I had to leave these jobs because one lost money and the other didn’t need me any more.

These supported jobs showed me how easy and simple is for employers to support me. When I job search I find it very hard to know what is a supported job or not so often it is not till the interview I find out.

The job search experience for me has not been good but with the help of the charity Scope hopefully I will find it a little easier so long as we can get to the job search part before the time allotted to help me runs out .

What can an employer do to make roles more accessible?

If an employer had a separate application process that was individually designed for people with Asperger’s it would make me much more confident to apply there and more likely to get an interview.

Equally, if employer suggested some interview adjustments themselves, rather than me having to ask that would good as It would help me feel not only confident but give me things that might help me in the interview they provide.  If an employer were to say on their website that they were trained in Autism and that they were happy to discuss individual support needs it would be very reassuring and make me make me feel more inclined to want to apply to them

And the interview?

It is good for employers to think about the interview process. The best interviews I have had are ones where we have had a general chat as an informal interview works better for me rather than a ‘grilling’ and a firing of questions from behind a desk.

Once I am in the workplace the employer needs to find out what my individual needs are so they can support me but they also need to challenge and progress me.

What advice do you have for young people?

I would say if you are looking for a job to talk to people you know who work in that area and see if they know of any jobs and don’t be afraid to email / apply to an employer again if they can’t offer you a job straight away they may another time. Also asking employers at interviews if they are able to offer you the support you need before you start to work there. (these two things are what got me my supportive job.

I wish there was more jobs sites that showed jobs that were disability confident and young people suited and hopefully by being an ambassador for Youth Employment UK this might change.

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For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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