Peer Mentor Experience

Using program learnings to broaden peer mentor recruitment.

Peer mentors play a critical role in the Worktopia Programs as they work closely with participants sharing their experiences, successes and their challenges during the transition to adulthood and on the journey to employment.

Peer mentors oer the presence of a caring individual who provides support, advice, friendship, reinforcement and constructive role modeling to program participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are similar in age.  Youth mentoring youth engages young people in supporting others to grow and enhance personal well-being.

More than 88% of the Peer Mentors surveyed said that the most enjoyable part of volunteering in Worktopia was interacting with the individuals with ASD, working with them, sharing experiences and getting to know them. They also commented on their own personal growth, noting that working with the participants helped them to develop their leadership and job skills, while gaining experience working as a team.

To read more about what we are learning and the experience of Peer Mentors who have generously volunteered their time in support of the Worktopia programs, click on the TIDBIT link below.

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Peer Mentor Evolution

Peer mentorship was recognized as an important element in the original design of the Worktopia programs. The concept of using peer mentors who do not have autism to provide support to participants who do, has evolved to include program graduates who have autism.

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Ecosystem Approach to Employment and Autism

Working age individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have the lowest employment rate in Canada at 14.3% in comparison to the general population (92.7%) and other disability groups (45.2%). This significant under-engagement in the labour force demonstrates the need to consider new and innovative approaches to employment to support long-term improved outcomes and overall quality of life.

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The Bigger Picture

In Worktopia, more than 44% of individuals who enrolled in the EmploymentWorks Canada program reported experiencing three or more co-occurring mental health conditions. Challenges posed by these factors may negatively influence employment and engagement in the community.

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