Friday 27 May 2011

Bids and Savings

With the 'scrum meeting' system now in place, this week at Autism Works has felt more 'task focused'. With this comes a stronger feeling of sense of direction as well as a good balance of interaction between team members and working unsupervised. Two of our scrum meetings this week have had to be done via Skype with Peter having to spend time at home recovering from illness. Fortunately, he is now better and back to work.

This week, I have started working on another funding bid and to aid putting across a strong case to attract funding to autism works to assist with employee support and training costs, I have also been doing a literature search on cost savings and autism. One of the points that I have so often been putting across in bids or when promoting Autism Works generally focuses on how paid employment for adults with ASC, including Asperger's Syndrome, enables independence and becoming equally-valued members of their community. What this research focuses on though is how unemployment of adults with ASC has detrimental overall economic effects to society generally, including on the public purse.

Research conducted by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities (2009) suggests that while adults with ASC miss out on potential earnings through lost employment, the national cost of supporting adults with ASC amounts to £25 billion. These costs span all areas of public sector expenditure in terms of benefits an expensive care packages in addition to the high costs it can bring to families in relation to out of pocket expenses. However, the research also stresses that significant investment in supported employment is needed to address this. By putting across how Autism Works can potentially make a significant dent in this figure as well as the 85 per cent of an estimated 500,000 adults with ASC who are currently unemployed, this will hopefully attract investment

Already, I am seeing the benefits of the scrum meeting system as I am feeling much more focused on my tasks as well as how it is aiding more working interaction of team members, which also appears to be helping Grayson, our Testing Manager, continue to settle in. Grayson's ten years' experience of working in the software testing industry developing and delivering training that leads to industry-recognised qualifications is adding an extra element to the funding bid applications, where we are able to show where funding can be used effectively. That the ISEB (the qualification required to be a software tester) is widely-recognised across the IT industry, this prepares future Autism Works employees not just to work as software testers at Autism Works, but also with other IT companies.

Elsewhere, in a two weeks' time, we have our marketing intern Sumanjeet Sandhu starts her ten-week placement with us. Studying for an MSc in E-Business and E-Marketing at Newcastle University, Sumanjeet will work with us to help build our marketing strategy, including using digital marketing tools. be sure to watch this space to see how this develops.

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