Inclusion @ Work

Supporting autistic people at WORK

With the help of The National Lottery, Triple A have launched a programme to support more autistic people living in Cumbria to find paid employment, and to work with employers in making appropriate reasonable adjustments to enable autistic people to bring their skills to the workplace.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published new data in 2021 that shows just 22% of autistic adults are in any kind of employment. This is a shocking figure, which is even lower than previously suggested in surveys (and it is lower than for any other form of disability).  Yet autistic people can bring so much to the workplace: an attention to detail, reliability, commitment, an ability to look at things differently – all the things that employers look for in building a diverse workforce with a range of different skills. And at a time when employers right across Cumbria are reporting that it is harder than ever to recruit new staff, we can use Triple-A’s expertise and insight into autism to help address this employment gap from both sides, supporting autistic people into jobs and also supporting employers and colleagues with suitable, tailored awareness training (delivered by autistic trainers, sharing their lived experience).

Please contact Triple-A’s office if you would like further information about our Cumbrian autism employment project.

Inclusion Partner

Sara Braithwaite

Sara has many years of experience from both perspectives of employment and recruitment, as an employer and as someone supporting people into employment. Latterly she was part of the Employability team at Newton Rigg College, working as Work Placement Coordinator for Foundation students, many with autism, to ensure students had a positive and realistic introduction to the workplace. In her prior career as a manager for the National Trust, she led a team of 20 staff and 80 plus volunteers and was responsible for recruitment and selection, particularly in the areas of retail, catering and visitor services.

In her life outside work, she is a foster carer and has welcomed approximately 40 young people into her home over the years, she lives on a smallholding in the Eden Valley, where she loves keeping sheep and growing things.

Inclusion Partner

Sue Mason

Sue Mason has been supporting people to increase their opportunities, improve services and to be heard,  for over thirty years.  After studying Modern Languages in Newcastle, she moved to London, where she supported adults with mental health difficulties, learning disabilities and autism in their transition from long-term psychiatric care into the community.

In 1994, after a year travelling, volunteering in an orphanage, and teaching English in South America, she moved to Cumbria in search of the hills! Since then, she has worked in the third sector as an advocate and self-advocacy champion for adults with learning difficulties, mental health problems, drug and alcohol dependency and dementia throughout Cumbria, as  well as six years at Cumbria Partnership NHS Trust as the Service User and Carer Involvement Lead.

After having children, she went to work part-time at Newton Rigg College where, for almost eight years, she supported students with higher needs, many of whom were autistic, to complete their studies.  During this time, she went back to University and in October 2021, she completed an MA in Translation Studies from Spanish to English.

Sue is passionate about supporting people to develop their potential, and to challenge public perceptions. She would like to live in a society where everyone feels they fit in and has a part to play. She is delighted to be working with Triple A on the Inclusion@work project, which she sees as a unique opportunity to create sustainable employment solutions for people who experience barriers to work.


Eileen Kirby

Eileen Kirby has a background in probation, education, children’s services, adult social care and health and currently works with the Transfer of Care Hub at the Cumberland Infirmary.

She lives in Cumbria with her family and is a parent of an autistic young adult.

Eileen is passionate about supporting and empowering autistic individuals to reach their full potential and encouraging a greater understanding amongst employers of the benefits of working with autistic individuals.