Celebrating World Autism Awareness Day with ILG
Did you know that 10% of ILG’s workforce identify as being on the autistic spectrum?
We recently took the opportunity to embrace and celebrate the unique talents and skills of those with autism, by celebrating World Autism Awareness Day and wearing blue to show our support!
What is autism?
The National Autistic Society states: Autism is a lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world. Autism is a spectrum which means everybody with autism is different. One in 100 people are on the autism spectrum. World Autism Awareness Day aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism face every day.
ILG strives to create an autism-friendly workplace and a company culture with people at the forefront of what we do, promoting trust, integrity, fairness and openness. ILG is committed to helping forge an inclusive, equal, and diverse workplace, challenging perceptions of disability.
Instead of shying away, we embrace inclusivity, by actively helping to provide employment to individuals with learning difficulties and/or autism. We work with Aldingbourne Trust’s WorkAid and TRACK. These schemes aim to match adults with learning disabilities and/or autism with suitable work placements, and include help for employers like ILG get the most from their valuable and productive employees.
Here are a few words from some of our valued staff who have joined us through Aldingbourne Trust WorkAid scheme.
Ryan is a Caretaker at one of our sites, and a recycling expert.
“My advice would be to keep learning and keep in mind when you speak to others. Be yourself, ask questions and keep talking! I love talking to people and the energy at ILG.”
Adam is a Warehouse Assistant, and one of our top pickers!
“It can be challenging talking to people when they ask complex questions. It can also be challenging dealing with problems and changes. Having an understanding of that helps and ILG is a friendly working environment and there is always a positive approach. I like being part of a team and having a routine in my job role.”
Jamal is a Cleaner, and his future goal is to become a nurse.
“ILG is very inclusive. I enjoy working here as I have a routine. I feel comfortable at ILG and like to see things neat and organised so I really like being a cleaner. It can be difficult to comprehend some of the verbal words or instructions that people give. If you show me a physical demonstration, it helps and is easier for me to understand. My advice would be that if something gets you stressed, do something that comforts you. Such as listening to music.”
Jane Middlemiss, Former Director of Organisational Development at ILG, gave us this insight to the many benefits to individuals and the business:
“Since 2015, ILG have been working with Sussex-based charity Aldingbourne Trust, to help adults on the autistic spectrum and/or learning disability to reach their potential through employment. Working with Aldingbourne Trust to recruit staff through the WorkAid programme just makes sound business sense. It enables us to source reliable employees, it increases productivity, and it improves the engagement of the whole workforce, who are proud to work for an organisation that supports the employment of adults with a disability.”
Thomas Cliffe, from TRACK, explained how ILG embraced working together for a great outcome:
“TRACK/Café Track is a Northamptonshire based social enterprise which is supporting autistic adults to access employment. From our first meetings, it was clear that ILG were committed to supporting individuals, and we were delighted to work in partnership with them. We worked together to identify roles which could be available, and then set about matching up these roles to individuals. For many, this is their first experience of work, and it has been incredibly positive, and is indeed ‘life changing’. We cannot thank the team at ILG enough for helping us to support these individuals. As we say, ‘Small environmental changes can make a life changing difference’. These individuals are all doing a great job, and we look forward to creating many more opportunities.”
Liz Miles, WorkAid Employment Consultant, provided some understanding of how difficult it can be to find supportive employers to come on board:
“There are always barriers to break down when we approach companies for the first time. I wrote 56 letters trying to get work for Kyle; ILG was one of just two companies that replied. There has to be a level of support and that’s where I come in. People on the autistic spectrum like routine and are best suited to jobs that are repetitive and analytical. Their attention to detail can be amazing. Like Adam, who has never made a picking error, they can be highly valuable employees. And we are always on the end of the phone to help when support is needed.”
We have a responsibility to treat others fairly, just as we’d expect to be treated fairly ourselves. We must continue to raise awareness of autism so we can all understand more and how to support others. It is a privilege to work alongside so many neurodiverse people from different backgrounds and we thank them for their commitment, talent and ambition which is helping us drive forward and shape our company!