HelmsBriscoe recently teamed up with the Together Trust to host an ‘autism in the workplace’ awareness and fundraising event for the meetings industry. More than 130 international hoteliers and corporate meeting planners attended the ‘HB Cares’ networking evening at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London. Delegates took part in various activities including a creative session led by Jacki Clark, art teacher at the Together Trust’s specialist Inscape House School in Cheshire, while learning how they could support those with autism spectrum conditions in the workplace.
As well as providing an insight into autism, the event encouraged employers to offer placements to young people with autism and raised approx. £21,000 to support those in placements by asking the hoteliers to purchase a ticket to attend the networking event and meet potential clients.
Launched in 2013, HB Cares has already helped provide six work placements in London for young people with autism. In 2014, Helms Briscoe and the Together Trust hope to expand the program to Manchester, offering a total of ten placements across the two cities.
Jacki said: “By teaming with HelmsBriscoe we’re able to highlight the challenges that young adults with autism can face when they are ready to enter the world of employment. Despite years of working hard in school, once they begin applying for jobs they often find the stigma of autism means few doors are open to them.
“Through events like this we can help raise awareness and break down barriers, encouraging employers to look beyond the autism and offer long term placements for these young adults while raising money to help provide them with the necessary support they need to help them succeed.”
Carole McKellar, Executive Director, Europe, for HelmsBriscoe, established the work experience program for young adults with autism in 2013, after seeing how difficult it was for her 21 year old son Chris, who has autism, to gain employment.
Carole said: “Through my role with HelmsBriscoe, I saw an opportunity for young people like Chris to gain confidence and work experience within the world of meetings and events. We recognised that both the employer and the young person taking part in the work placement would need support and that we needed funds to run the programme.
“In 2013, we launched our HB Cares event which brings together meeting planners and hoteliers for an evening of business networking and interactive activities. With the support of the Together Trust we are able to encourage a greater level of awareness of autism in the workplace, and through our hotel community we have raised $35,000 USD to help fund work placements in London and Manchester in 2014.”
Carole was recently named Personality of the Year at the M&IT Awards in London. The award recognises her work supporting young adults with autism through HB Cares, as well as her contribution to the meetings industry.
For more information about how we support people with autism please contact us.