More than third of autistic people are unemployed, and only a quarter graduate from university or TAFE.
Based on six years of research, myWAY Employability is a smart web platform that helps autistic young people to take control of their future. Unlike other career planning services, myWAY Employability has been designed for and with the autistic community.
myWAY Employability provides an individual profile matched to relevant career, further education and training information and pathways. It helps young people take big dreams and break them into smaller goals and tasks to track progress.
myWAY Employability comes from research and evaluation related to the Better OutcOmes and Successful Transitions for Autism (BOOST-A) program. The BOOST-A is a digital transition-planning tool to help young people on the autism spectrum to plan what they will do after school.
Students who used the BOOST-A reported higher levels of self-determination to achieve their goals for further study or training and employment goals, than students who used the existing generic school-based transition planning processes.
Adopting a human-centred design approach, we worked with autistic young people to really understand their needs and preferences, explore potential solutions, and ultimately co-design, test, and refine myWAY Employability.
In the discovery phase (Stage 1) of myWAY Employability we engaged with over 220 stakeholders - young people, parents, health professionals, and educators. A further 90 autistic young people were involved in the co-design and development (Stage 2) of myWAY Employability; taking part in co-design workshops, user testing, and/or providing feedback on various elements of the website.
Autism CRC also established a myWAY Employability Neurodiverse Youth Advisory Group (NYAG) to advise on the engagement elements of the website, content, and user expectations.
myWAY Employability was developed in consultation with autistic young people, and their supporters, parents, allied health professionals, researchers, disability service providers and educators from around Australia, and was proudly supported by Telstra Foundation under the Tech4Good Challenge initiative.
The Better OutcOmes and Successful Transitions for Autism (BOOST-A) program, included the work of Autism CRC PhD Scholar, Dr Megan Hatfield (Curtin University), and her supervisors Associate Professor Marina Ciccarelli, the late Emeritus Professor Sylvia Rodger AM, Dr Marita Falkmer and Professor Torbjorn Falkmer.
The design and development of myWAY Employability was led by Associate Professor Marina Ciccarelli (Curtin University), Cheryl Mangan (Autism CRC), Brendan James (Autism CRC), Adie Wilmot (Curtin University) and Alex Creece (Autism CRC Future Leader alumni).
We would particularly like to acknowledge the support of Neurodiverse Youth Advisory Group members. Thanks also to our technology development partner The Project Factory, and research partner CSIRO e-health Institute. We would also like to acknowledge Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) and the Queensland Department of Education (Autism Hub) for their ongoing support.
Our sincere thanks to the many hundreds of young people, parents, professionals and organisations who have been part of the myWAY Employability journey.
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