NAS & Goldman Sachs Takes Charity Times CSR Project Of The Year Award

The National Autistic Society Logo

The National Autistic Society (NAS) and Goldman Sachs were last week awarded the Corporate Social Responsibility Project of the Year at the prestigious, annual Charity Times awards 2011.

The NAS and Goldman Sachs took home the coveted award for their partnership supporting young adults with autism into paid work placements.

People with autism can find it very hard to communicate and interact with others, lacking the social and personal communication skills needed to enter the recruitment system of large organisations, which has resulted in only 15% of adults with autism currently in full time employment. However, through the NAS Prospects scheme 51 young people with autism have been supported through a variety of employment opportunities within Goldman Sachs since 2003.

Through support and tailored training programmes, Noel Hastings, Deputy Service Manager and the NAS Prospects team has placed candidates in roles at Goldman Sachs across Technology, Legal, Operations, Corporate Services and Compliance. The programme helps individuals with autism prepare for work, providing support throughout the recruitment process and ongoing assistance for the individual as well as their team and line manager.

Chris, one of the NAS Prospects graduates to benefit from the scheme said: 'I can remember the first time I went to Prospects to discuss the Transitions project. It was a decision that would change my life. Three years ago the prospects of finding a permanent job were very bleak. I would never have guessed that in the near future I would be working at Goldman Sachs, the world's leading investment bank'.

The Charity Times Awards has helped to highlight the success of the partnership, with over three quarters (80%) of graduates stating they were more confident as a result of completing the programme. Eight of the 51 candidates went onto permanent employment with Goldman Sachs, with nearly all of those who completed an internship subsequently going on to secure employment in equivalent international organisations such as PWC, Ernst & Young and Barclays.

The NAS and Goldman Sachs partnership was hailed as: 'a great application with clear and constructive collaboration with lasting outcomes and impact' by the Charity Times Awards judges.

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the NAS said: 'We are immensely proud to have developed such a successful and sustainable programme with Goldman Sachs. This exciting partnership allows us to start to address the issue of unemployment for people with autism. Working together we have been able to empower and enable young adults with autism, helping them build their confidence, be respected in the workplace and make a valuable contribution to society. We hope to develop further strategic partnerships with other companies in the future and help people with autism to live the life they choose'.

William Elliott, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs said: 'NAS Prospects enabled us to develop some of the best untapped talent. Working with young adults with autism has provided our management team with the opportunity to embrace disability in the work place. We are proud to be in partnership with the NAS, changing the lives of people with autism'.

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