Can travel unlock work and employment opportunities – Part 1

Images of people sat on a bus

In 2023, Autistic Minds collaborated with Revealing Reality to study the ways in which travel obstacles may impact employment and career prospects for individuals with autism. So, Can travel unlock work and employment opportunities? 


When compared to other populations, the employment rate for individuals with autism in the UK is much lower:   

  • 29% of autistic adults are employed.  
  • 54% of all disabled adults are employed.  
  • 82% of non-disabled adults are employed.  

As part of our mission to help autistic people realize their full potential and lead more independent lives, Autistic Minds assists autistic people with job preparation and placement.  

We understand the needs and difficulties faced by people with autism because the majority of our staff is autistic. As such, we are a true autism community organization, led and managed by people with autism. With over a decade of experience, Autistic Minds understands the impact of travel barriers on autistics seeking employment, and they were eager to support the research project with Revealing Reality to better understand the barriers across the autistic population.  


Revealing Reality carried out consultations with Autistic Minds before beginning the research to understand the best approach to interviewing and creating a safe, welcoming space for those who agreed to take part.  

Autistic Minds were able to seek out and signpost eligible participants to Revealing Reality, and in total 15 people were interviewed across South Wales.  

In order to generate a varied sample, Revealing Reality conducted interviews with:  

  • between 18 and 40 years of age 
  • With a diversity of societal backgrounds and genders 
  • With a range of levels of autism and the way in which their autism affected them 


  1. Together with Autistic Minds support staff, researchers from Revealing Reality spoke with fifteen people for three to four hours. These interviews were able to provide details about the person with autism, how it affected their life, and the difficulties they had finding work or going to school, in addition to information about transportation.                                                                                          
  2. Eight of the fifteen subjects were observed by researchers while traveling in common and utilizing either or both public and private transportation.  

A summary of results

  • Although transportation was noted as a hindrance to job prospects, other obstacles were also noted. Some believed that working was an unattainable goal, that people with autism could find employment, or that they lacked the self-assurance needed to pursue their studies or careers.  
  • Public transportation was useful for more than just getting to work or school; people who could travel used it for social activities, hobbies, visiting friends and family, and getting to medical appointments.  
  • Independent travel also allowed people to build coping strategies that helped them deal with unforeseen or unknown circumstances. As a result, those people reported feeling more confident and driven to take advantage of more opportunities and travel farther. 

What does this mean for Autistic Minds?  

  • Those who received the right encouragement and were encouraged to reach their full potential were the ones who prospered the most. According to the research, organizations like Autistic Minds should keep encouraging and helping autistic people to grow their self-esteem and acquire skills that will benefit them in every aspect of their lives. Individuals who participated in travel education programs demonstrated increased confidence not only in their ability to travel but also in other aspects of their lives, like employment and education.  


  • People frequently felt that they did not expect to engage in work or education, and employers, job centers, and, in certain situations, those providing support had reinforced this belief. Services like Autistic Minds must raise awareness of the remarkable potential of autistic people in the workplace and highlight the advantages of having a neurodiverse workforce.  
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