News – 27 September 2022 We are piloting a new scheme for neurodiverse graduates as part of an innovative partnership. Working alongside Ambitious about Autism and the GEM Programme, we have an exciting opportunity for an autistic person to join us for a year-long placement in a property compliance role. The candidate will also have the option to join the GEM Programme, an award-winning graduate development programme which supports people to build careers in housing. Research by the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services found that only 36.4% of first-degree autistic graduates were in full-time employment, compared with 60.4% of graduates with no known disability. Aileen Evans, Group Chief Executive at Grand Union, said: “We’re really excited to be able to offer this role with the support of two great partner organisations. “At Grand Union we want to be a genuinely inclusive workplace where everyone can feel like they belong and bring their whole selves to work. We hope that this pilot scheme will lead to further opportunities for neurodiverse graduates to build varied and hugely rewarding careers in the housing sector.” Nicole Curtin, Employ Autism Account Manager at Ambitious about Autism, said “We are delighted to be working with Grand Union Housing Group and the GEM Programme, to offer an autistic young person this fantastic work placement opportunity. Fewer than 35% of autistic people with undergraduate degrees are in full-time employment, so opportunities like this are of vital importance in helping young people develop career experience in a supportive environment with an employer that understands their needs.” Geraldine Howley, Executive Chair, the GEM Programme, said: “Since its inception in 2009, the GEM Programme has delivered on a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Social justice and empathy are embedded in our recruitment and development of upcoming housing professionals. “We are delighted to be partners with Ambitious About Autism and Grand Union Housing Group in this pioneering work to attract neurodiverse talent to the housing sector. The cultural fit and leadership of Grand Union, and the expertise and commitment of Ambitious About Autism, provide the foundations for a strong and innovative partnership with the GEM Programme.” To find out more about the GEM Programme or Ambitious about Autism, visit their websites: thegemprogramme.com and /www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk.