Julien is a French job coach who supports autistic people in finding work placements, internships and employment. Julien found that there was a great lack of training and awareness amongst companies who showed little interest in recruiting autistic people. There was also a lack of services available to autistic people, and those that were available were fragmented, meaning autistic people had to liase with a number of people or organisations in order to gain support. This is when Julien decided that a single point of access for different aspects of their lives would be beneficial, and he could provide this.
What does individual job coaching involve?
Julien offers coaching that considers both the social and professional aspects of employment equally. It is a continuous, seamless support system which can be adapted to each individuals’ needs. Julien offers a very individualised service, with a high degree of flexibility. Aspects covered in Julien’s job coaching include:
- Training towards gaining employment/work placements or internships
- Assistance with employment or social life
- Assistance with securing housing
- Life skills training
Julien immediately noticed a large number of autistic people and their families contacting him for support, there was a great need for this type of service. He has previously undergone training with psychologists and educators to gain a better understanding of autism.
Generally, Julien has found that service users meet these criteria within 2-3 years of assistance, allowing for less frequent follow-up meetings. He has also found, after 7 years 90% of his service users now have a home, a job or are in training/education and are able to live independently and report a sense of well-being and psychological stability.
Julien also offers a central point of contact for the different institutions service users may interact with e.g. universities, companies and other institutions. This may also include HR, company recruitment departments, disability support, managers and co-workers. Julien has found that when there is good communication between these different partners, there is success.
The benefits to companies and individuals
Julien works hard to educate companies and organisations on autism, with many people having a very limited understanding based on limited experience or what is seen in the media. Julien breaks down these stereotypes, offers training and educates people on the diversity of autistic profiles.
Overall, both autistic adults and their families, and companies and institutions have praised the work that Julien does, with particular appreciation for the individualised service that he offers. He has been able to help autistic people secure internships, employment and educational support for his service users and has helped companies and organizations adapt their work processes to better meet the needs of autistic people. Another sign of his success is the increasing number of people and organizations accessing his services.
Tips to share with careers advisors
- Be agile, flexible, adaptable, organised and above all: invested in your work.
- Extend the offer of your support to graduates, beyond them leaving university. After all, you are an expert in support and you can share your knowledge with an employer.
Tips to share with employers
- Break down stereotypes by challenging assumptions, take the time to understand the person you have employed as an individual rather than a diagnosis, including their strengths and support needs.
- Access autism specific training offered by national or regional organisations (see the resources section of the Good Practice Guide for Employers).
- Nominate a single point of contact for the autistic employee to talk to about support, progress, challenges, etc. That person can then liaise with HR, managers and co-workers.