24th August 2018
Employability & Enterprise Service: Autistic Enterprisers Programme
Cantraybridge college, which makes a unique and important contribution to the lives of people with additional support needs, has been awarded £239,028 from the Social Economy Growth Fund to support people with autism to set up their own micro businesses.
Cantraybridge College, Croy, will use the award to train 84 individuals in how to identify business ideas and then set up their own supported micro-enterprises.
Cantraybridge CEO, Jenny Liddell, explains, The Autistic Enterprisers programme is no ordinary business education programme. It combines enterprise education with personal support to assist individuals in overcoming both professional and personal barriers to becoming self-employed. It also offers options for a range of continuing support once a new business is launched.
Autistic Enterprisers aims to create at least 18 new businesses by March 2020 and is open to any adult with an autistic spectrum condition living in Highland. The College is currently recruiting for an Enterprise Trainer and Autism Mentor/Counsellor, who will travel throughout the region to deliver individualised training and support.
The Social Economy Growth Fund - backed by the Scottish Government and European Social Fund - has made more than £4 million of funding available to 22 Scottish organisations, social enterprises and charities to address poverty and social exclusion. The Scottish Government was keen to fund Autistic Enterprisers and representatives visited Cantraybridge earlier this week to meet some of animal care students who may join the programme (pictured).
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said, “The Social Economy Growth Fund enables organisations to design and deliver community-led solutions to overcome poverty, disadvantage and inequalities – which is a key principle of our Fairer Scotland Action Plan. We are encouraging councils and third sector partners to develop local strategies that advance the social enterprise sector in every part of Scotland.”
Research findings from the pilot programme will be presented to the Scottish Government and could see similar holistic programmes being opened up nationally. Less than one third of autistic adults find their way into the workplace, leading to their social and economic exclusion and significant cost to the economy.
Adults with autistic spectrum conditions are encouraged to get in touch with the college if they wish to reserve a place on the programme: firstname.lastname@example.org or T: 01667 493500.