My name is Oliver Fenghour and I am the Director and Founder of Advance: The Disability Consultants. I have a 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 adult with autism.
I consider myself to be one of the more fortunate ones as only 21.7% of people on the Autistic Spectrum are in full-time employment and only 37% of people with autism in the United Kingdom are in some form of either part-time or full-time employment. Globally only 20% of people with autism are in employment.
My primary objective of founding Advance: The Disability Consultants is to help the many thousands of people with autism 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. As a specialist autism consultancy business we offer autism training, consultancy and partnerships to help organisations become autism confident employers.