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Car dealer launches foundation to help people with autism find employment

PUBLISHED: 11:47 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:47 04 September 2017

New Dagenham & Redbridge owner Glyn Hopkin (pic: Dave Hennessey/D&RFC)

New Dagenham & Redbridge owner Glyn Hopkin (pic: Dave Hennessey/D&RFC)

Archant

Getting a job can be difficult at the best of times. It’s even more of a challenge if you’re autistic.

But for people who have been diagnosed with autism, help is at hand thanks to the Glyn Hopkin Charitable Foundation.

It has teamed up with autism charity Sycamore Trust UK to help people from Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Havering into long-term employment with local businesses.

The Space initiative, which stands for supporting people with autism into continued employment, offers support to employers to help them sustain full-time job placements for young people.

It also offers help with job searches and interview preparation and provides a personal helpline to offer ongoing guidance for people once they are employed.

It was officially launched at the House of Commons and is set to expand across neighbouring boroughs in the future.

Sycamore Trust UK’s chief executive officer, Chris Gillbanks, welcomed the programme’s launch and said: “Currently, only 16 per cent of people with autism are in full-time employment, and we know there are many young people who are desperate to prove that they are talented and loyal workers.

“The funding and support from the Glyn Hopkin Charitable Foundation will enable us to change lives through the Space programme by delivering a much-needed service to local people.”

People on the autistic spectrum can be affected by the condition in different ways, but common symptoms include struggling with social interactions and wanting to stick to a set routine. Because of this, it can be hard for them to hold down a job.

Glyn Hopkin, who owns a series of car dealerships bearing his name as well as being director of Dagenham and Redbridge FC, said: “As chairman of a local business that employs hundreds of people, I recognised vacancies could more readily be taken on by people with autism if more guidance and support was offered to potential employers.

“Since the programme was launched we have helped individuals with autism secure positions across the Glyn Hopkin motor retail business, and we look forward to welcoming many more young people into our company as the programme develops.”

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