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Employment opportunity for 200 Greeks with autism

Featured Employment opportunity for 200 Greeks with autism

Two hundred prospective employees with autism have been waiting for months for an employer who will give them the opportunity to find employment, gain independence and integrate into society.

About a year ago, the launch of the innovative platform for finding and keeping work for people with autism "JobsLink" of the Hellenic Association for Asperger's Syndrome had caused smiles and optimism that things for young people on the autism spectrum will start to change. It was, after all, the first serious attempt in Greece to connect companies with prospective employees with a special social, cognitive, sensory profile, i.e. those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome. And it became a reality thanks to the donation of the "Greece 2021" Committee.

Within 12 months the platform has mobilized 200 prospective workers waiting to work. At the same time, however, the response of businesses is limited. As the President of the Association, psychologist Maria Iliopoulou, points out in "TA NEA" newspaper, the period of time is short, however, through informing and raising the awareness of prospective employers about the utilization of the talents of people with autism, "we hope that more companies will join. Some job interviews have already taken place. What should be understood is that young people with autism, instead of being passive people who receive benefits from the state, can work, pay taxes, be consumers.'

Many young people with high-functioning autism have university degrees in specific fields, particularly IT, formal qualifications as well as exceptional skills and talents. These skills allow them to be employed in professions such as computer programmers, computer system security technicians, journalists, statisticians as well as sales assistants. A typical example is Iliopoulou's son, who, having studied at the Polytechnic, has been working for the last five years.

“However, they are often at a disadvantage in getting and keeping a job due to a lack of mutual understanding and support, especially in the early stages. Workers with autism spectrum disorder may need some, often simple, support within the workplace. For example, people on the autistic spectrum want a work environment that is not noisy, because it can disorient them," adds Iliopoulou.

Through the "JobsLink" program

Surrounded by trained mentors-mediators, employers and employees can, through the "JobsLink" program, find support at all stages of the work journey: from preparing the CV to adapting to the working environment and managing obligations and social conditions in the workplace.

Hiring processes often create barriers for autistic people. There are many small and smooth adjustments that can be made to hiring processes that will help candidates apply for jobs and allow them to demonstrate their skills as an employee.

"Thus, employees with autism, with the guidance of an experienced mentor, can adapt smoothly to the work environment and respond adequately – and often at a very high level – to the work demands. At the same time, employers become aware of the particularities and talents of the employee. The mentor thus becomes the necessary link that is usually missing from the chain for stable work inclusion in practice."