15 April 2016

To celebrate the first ever UK Employability Day (#esday16), we spoke to the amazing team at Daisy Chain Project to find out how they support people with autism to gain employability skills.

Daisy Chain Project was established in 2003 as a charity to support families affected by autism, helping to meet their needs and bring them closer together.

The charity runs a 5.5 acre farm in Stockton-on-Tees where they hold fun activities to bring family members closer together and help people with autism learn how to work on a farm and care for the animals.

Daisy Chain Project also runs a superstore, which has recently moved to a bigger site following its success, to offer the people they work with even more opportunities to gain vital skills to help them become employable.

The Employability Programme run at Daisy Chain Project uses the ABC Awards Entry Level 3 Award in Employability Skills as a structure to support people with autism in understanding about the world of work and encouraging them to enter into employment.

The qualification covers units on maintaining work standards, communication in the workplace, customer care, enterprise and interview skills – vital knowledges and skills to support people in developing the confidence and aptitude for job seeking and retaining employment.

Working on the farm and in the superstore at Daisy Chain Project offers people with autism the opportunity to work in real life situations, respond to customers, understand how a business works and to gain experience in a number of different roles, including customer services, warehousing, logistics, cataloguing and pricing.

When they set up their Employability Programme, Daisy Chain Project knew it would be a challenge to provide a course to adults with autism, who all have very different needs, experience, independence level and rates of learning.

But they were able to adapt the flexible learning material offered by the ABC Awards qualification to present learners with visual aids and assessments which could be completed verbally through discussions and observations, which was a great benefit to the students. The qualification has helped learners develop confidence, not just to cope but to thrive in the workplace.

Judith, Chief Executive at Daisy Chain Project, said:

“By focusing on the guidelines produced by ABC Awards and offering both general and specific training to support this practical experience, we were able to provide effective and impactful education in employability skills.”

“The employability course means so much to the people on it, giving them hope and a real chance to learn the skills which help them get into the real world and find work.”

One of the employability students at Daisy Chain Project said:

“The course has a lot to offer. It gives people a chance to know what it is like to work with colleagues and to work professionally in a work environment. I’ve developed a strong sensation of integrity of how to work with other people and am pleased with the work I have done.”

Another student added:

“We learnt how to get jobs, how to prepare for interviews, we did our food hygiene certificate and it was really good. I’m now working as an apprentice administrator as a result of doing the course with Daisy Chain.

“What might have really helped me get this role is that they were impressed I had done this course and shown initiative.”

As a charity, Daisy Chain Project relies on donations in order to run the Employability Programme, and to raise awareness of the work they do they have recently produced a video which shows their learners in action. To watch the video, please click here.

ABC Awards employability qualifications have been developed to support learners and employability practitioners alike to engage in effective training. Our suite of employability skills qualifications teach learners how to search and apply for jobs, and gain the skill and knowledge needed to maintain employment.

In addition, we offer a suite of qualifications for the employability services sector for those who support people seeking employment, such as those working in health, housing association, offender management, rehabilitation and other related areas.

To find out more about how we can support you in delivering an employability programme, please click here.