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According to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), less than 10% of persons with autism are employed, and those who are employed often find themselves in low-wage jobs. The barriers to accessing the job market are: the lack of access to vocational training, communication difficulties, denial of reasonable accommodation, and prejudices about autism. 

In response to this content, the ASES (Autism: Spectrum of Employment Skills) project aimed to develop training materials and tools for SME management and recruiters in order to increase workplace inclusion of adults with autism. The VET digital training resources will train employers and HR staff to recruit, mentor and empower staff with autism throughout their employment cycle.

ASES specifically targeted: 

  • SMEs & SME management
  • People with autism
  • Business and employment stakeholders
  • Stakeholders for people with disabilities
  • Economy authorities at local, regional, national and European levels

Project results and outcomes

The project produced the following three results:

1) ASES Serious Game: ”Autism Can Be a Company Asset”

The Serious Game is the core of the ASES project, which aims to support SME management to provide an inclusive workplace for adults with ASD. The project embedded gamification elements into the project to facilitate the learning process, as the best way to train SME management on ASD with the use of the game, is to take them through simulations of interviews and exercises to create an ASD-friendly environment.

The game covers various topics, for example: 

  • the application process 
  • working together in teams
  • incorporating scenarios based on common bottlenecks that people with autism experience in the labor market

The ASES project focuses on teaching materials and trainings for the person on ‘the other side’ of the job interview table – the employer or manager. The free online game encourages organisations to become more accessible to people with autism.

2) ASES VET Curriculum for SME Management

The ASES VET course was developed to train SME management on:

  • how to perform interviews with candidates with ASD
  • how to prepare a proper working environment for staff with ASD
  • how to develop them professionally

The curriculum is available digitally and can be adapted for blended learning environments as well as physical training seminars. The course is available in English, Portuguese, Greek, Macedonian, Latvian, and Danish.

The curriculum consists of 6 modules, each covering a different knowledge area:

  • Module 1: Autism in SMEs and Social Policies
  • Module 2: SME Management Soft Skills
  • Module 3: Work Environment Management
  • Module 4: Provision of Support to Staff with Autism
  • Module 5: Code of Conduct (Colleagues/Management/Autistic Staff)
  • Module 6: Using Tools that will Support Autistic Staff throughout the Employment Cycle (Practical Guidelines)

3) ASES e-Guide for ‘Recruiting and Developing Staff with ASD’

This electronic guide provides practical materials and references to support potential employers and recruiters of staff with ASD. This includes a collection of procedures, tools, tips, best practices, guidelines and overview of interview and professional development methods. Accessible in an electronic format, the e-Guide is available in English, Portuguese, Greek, Macedonian, Latvian, and Danish.


ASES was a European Union funded project which ran from 2021-2023 and brought together 7 partners: FPDA – Federação Portuguesa de Autismo, Specialisterne, The Latvian Autism Association, 8D Games, Business Confederation of Macedonia (BCM), DEKAPLUS, and OECON Group.