In 2016 ARC England completed a joint project, funded by Skills for Care’s Workforce Development Innovation fund (WDIF), with the ‘Speak up for Autism’ group.

The group are based in Rotherham, and consisted of seven adults with autism spectrum conditions and are a self-selected advocacy group. The group members worked together over the two years and were involved in a research study that has helped them to develop computer literacy skills through the use of technology. Through this work, group members started to teach other people with autism and professionals about this. Following on from this work, the seven group members identified that they wanted to take their training skills to the next level and teach professionals about autism awareness, using a more structured approach to their delivery. So using the WDIF funding, ARC England has supported them to become qualified trainers!

They achieved the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) qualification, Level 3 Award in Education and Training whilst delivering autism awareness workshops to the Health and Social Care workforce. They delivered their sessions to over 60 staff and managers with fantastic feedback!

Not only have the group now got the confidence and competence needed to train others, the key outcome is that health and social care staff can access autism awareness training directly from people who have lived experience of the condition – leading to better understanding for all. The ‘Speak up for Autism’ group have already been asked to deliver more Autism Awareness training where they completed the pilot sessions. We wish them every success in their future work!