My name is Oliver Fenghour and I am the Director and founder of Advance: The Disability Consultants. I have a high functioning form of Autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome. I was diagnosed by a Professor of Neurology at Great Ormond Street at the age of 10. Upon leaving school at 16 I struggled for many years to find employment and found there was often a distinct lack of awareness and understanding for those on the Autistic Spectrum such as myself.
Eventually I was helped by the disability charity Mencap into employment with J Sainsburys PLC. Mencap supported me successfully in the workplace for about three years, yet with the financial crash in 2008 and the consequent austerity that followed, meant that the support I had received in the workplace was subsequently removed. I was fortunate that by the time my support in the workplace was removed I was functioning well in the workplace due to the excellent awareness and understanding that my employers and colleagues had of my needs and requirements as an Autistic adult.
I consider myself to be one of the more fortunate ones as only 16% of people on the Autistic Spectrum are in full-time employment and only 32% of Autistic people in the United Kingdom are in some form of either part-time or full-time employment.
My primary objective of founding Advance: The Disability Consultants is to help the many thousands of Autistic people gain the skills, confidence and opportunities that successive employers have given me. I also want to impart my knowledge and understanding of how to create a supportive, successful working environment for those on the Autistic Spectrum and for the organisations they work for to better understand their own practises in order to provide the best support possible.