Autism Association’s AIM Employment Services—Winners all Round!

AIM WebNews

More than one hundred people with Autism are currently successfully employed across Perth metropolitan area with support from the Autism Association’s AIM Employment Services. Many employers are acknowledging the value of their employees who have Autism—their skills, commitment, loyalty, attention to detail and accuracy and above all their strong work ethic. The success of these employees is due to their inherent abilities, nurtured and brought to the fore by members of a dedicated team from AIM Employment Services. Employment Executive Manager Russell Thomas, pointing to the many strengths of people with Autism,  including their ability to work methodically where it entails following a process, tells also how  people with Autism can focus on something for a long period of time without getting bored—a valuable attribute in many workplaces.

An endorsement of AIM’s goals

Through AIM, these young workers are demonstrating their skills across a diverse range of industries including print, IT, hospitality, commercial laundry, pharmacy, finance, university research and more.  AIM’s  goal is to focus on providing and satisfying two distinct, yet interrelated markets—adults with Autism who are looking for a job; and companies wishing to employ reliable, committed, highly skilled and capable employees. The commentary of positive feedback from the employers of people with Autism provides a strong endorsement of AIM’s goals.  The Autism Association is extremely proud of the fact that AIM Employment Services, established in 1994, provides the only Autism specialist employment support program across Australia.

Before the person with Autism is employed, extensive investigation takes place to ensure there is a very high chance of this being a successful placement. First and foremost, the AIM Employment consultant will get to know the job seeker—their desires, abilities and vulnerabilities, including:

  • What type of job they would  like and where
  • What skills they have and how could those skills be put to good use in employment?
  • How Autism impacts upon them (e.g., are they very sound sensitive, would they find it difficult working in close proximity in a group setting?)
  • Are they ready and keen to be employed?

From the time of these initial meetings to the time of entering the workplace and beyond, an extensive range of supports can be provided through AIM Employment.  Meeting the needs of the individual, supports may include:

  • Writing a resume and job application
  • Attending interviews
  • Helping employers and co-workers to understand Autism (as appropriate for the person with Autism)
  • On the job support and guidance

Elliot, who works at Scott Print, says that his job seeking process through the Association’s AIM was simple. He speaks of being shy with new people, so the Association’s help with Interviews and phone calls was “another good thing”.

For further details of support that may be provided, click on the button below:

Looking for a job

Whether a person with Autism is in their final year at school and intending to enrol in a course at TAFE, or has already left school and thinking of studying at TAFE—support from AIM Employment Services can be provided through the enrolment process and while the person is studying. On completion of the course, an AIM consultant can help with the job search and with ongoing support throughout employment.

“I got a job placement at Australia Post thanks to AIM. With their support and Aus Post’s encouragement I have started doing training and work as a fill-in supervisor. My life feels like it is really moving forward. Can’t thank AIM enough for helping me get here.” — Stephen

After the initial assessment AIM staff will assist with the job search, career guidance, work related counselling, volunteering and work experience.  A variety of potential employers will be approached in order to secure suitable employment. Job seekers are encouraged to take their place in the work force, to the extent that they are able— in accordance with their goals, objectives, interests, skills and preferences. 

For more information download our TAFE flyer.

An AIM Employment team member will remain on the job until the job seeker and the employer are confident the work is being completed satisfactorily. In some cases, job seekers may undertake a free work trial prior to commencing paid employment. Insurance cover is provided for all job seekers who are on a work trial.

In addition, AIM Employment also provides support with:

  • On the job training, when required.
  • Accessing financial incentives.
  • Assistance with appropriate Award Coverage and industrial relations issues.
  • The provision of information and education on Autism for co-workers.

“I work with great people. I have been working there for five years and really appreciate the support I get from my AIM coordinator.” — Alex

Further information is available on:

  • Ways in which employers of people with Autism are supported.     
  • The Supported Wage System and a Wage Subsidy.
  • Benefits of employing a person with Autism and much more.

Sam works at CRS Sleep clinic. He appreciates the quiet atmosphere, away from the other employees. “I like working there as I find the work challenging. I have been working there for four years.” — Sam

Nathan says his work at Scott Print is well matched to his work ethic, as he prefers (surprisingly and in contrast to Sam) a constantly changing and fast paced atmosphere.

Support for employers

While the employees with Autism express satisfaction about their placements in the world of work, the feedback from employers is also extremely rewarding:

“Last year Australia Post employed two individuals with Autism through a combination of work experience, training and identifying the individual’s skills and matching these skills to particular tasks. With the support of the AIM Employment team these individuals became part of our processing team working in various parts of the organisation. These employees fit in extremely well once given the opportunity and are an integral part of the Australia Post team. The support we receive from the AIM Employment consultants is extremely valuable especially during times of change which helps to ensure smooth transitions. Employing people with Autism has provided Australia Post with reliable and loyal workers that are genuinely happy to come to work.”

Australia Post, John Game—Facility Manager

“We are a small commercial laundry situated in Bibra Lake. We began employing people with autism through AIM Employment in 2011 to assist in the laundry. With the support of AIM Employment we now employ five young people as laundry assistants. We are more than pleased with these employees, as they do a great job in the workplace, they are reliable and punctual, and have an eye for detail doing the job quickly and accurately.

Light-House Laundry, John Moore—Proprietor

“The School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work began our professional relationship with AIM Employment in 2012, when we employed a worker with Autism to provide research assistant support to the many research staff and students in our School. With the support of AIM Employment, we now employ four research assistants who have a range of skills and knowledge relevant to qualitative and quantitative research methods.

AIM Employment staff provide fantastic support to these workers and to the School, giving on-the-job assistance, if needed, with new or complex work tasks. This support means that our researchers can be confident in the work done.

These workers are extremely reliable and punctual, and their accuracy and speed of work on very detailed tasks is excellent. They have taken opportunities to broaden their skills sets through relevant in-house training and short courses, which has increased the number and scope of research projects that have benefitted from their work. Several of these research assistants have either co-authored, or been acknowledged in, published peer-reviewed research papers. An excellent outcome for them and the School.”

Curtin University | School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Marina Ciccarelli—Associate Professor

“Winners all round” is not an over-statement

The success of people with Autism employed across any community creates a very positive ripple effect. While the Autism Association works continually to promote the awareness of Autism, the work of AIM Employment, along with the employees they support, enables that promotion throughout many and various workplaces across Perth City and suburbs—on a daily basis.

“I’ve been working for City of Armadale E-Waste facility for four years, 1-2 half days a week. My passion for pulling apart things to see how they work has made working for E Waste very enjoyable. I work best in small groups, so working with 2-3 other people has been great.  It’s really important to me to work and get out as it makes me feel useful.  I like knowing that I contribute to society by recycling electronic goods.”— Joseph

Management and co-workers get to know people with Autism and reflect on their unique skills. They tell their families, friends and colleagues about the efficiency of the people with Autism across a wide range of work. Many myths about Autism are being dispelled. Inclusion is being viewed in a much brighter light.

At Perth’s Scott Print, where Nathan and Elliot who have Autism are employed full time, General Manager John Scott is quoted as saying the work performed by people with Autism “surpassed a level of perfection never seen before”. He had also observed how the presence of people with Autism had generated a positive atmosphere for all of his employees: “It’s almost like a maternal or paternal instinct comes out in staff.” A softening of the atmosphere of work—surely a welcome change!

Another industry leader, reflecting on several employees with Autism working in a number of their businesses, viewed it as a win for the worker with Autism and a win for their industry. People with Autism— with the expertise of AIM Employment Services—are showing the working world just what they can do!

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