HUNDREDS of young autistic adults have been overlooked for jobs because of their disability, despite being skilled and ready to work.

This week is National Carers Week and West Sussex County Council has launched a new online resource to help teachers, parents and employers work together to support young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

According to Mencap, six per cent of people in the UK with learning disabilities are in employment, despite 60 per cent wanting to and being able to be in work.

Richard Burrett, cabinet member for education and skills at the county council, said: “Many young people with additional needs have the capability and desire to work.

“But the low number who are actually employed shows we have a long way to go in helping them to find rewarding jobs.

“Employing a person with a disability is easier than many employers think.

“There are huge benefits to working for young people with special needs and disabilities.

“Their confidence grows, they make new friends, feel part of their community and become more financially independent.

“At a time when some businesses are struggling to recruit and retain staff, helping people with special needs to get into work could be the ideal solution.”

Schools in the county are helping pupils prepare for work.

Carol Noble, sixth form curriculum lead from Oak Grove College, in The Boulevard, Worthing, said: “The impact of work experience on our young people is phenomenal.

“Many are very nervous to begin with and think they will not be able to do it, mostly because they are worried about getting it wrong.

“Once they have taken the first step their confidence grows quickly and they realise they can do it and do it well.”