New business aims to help those with autism

Categories: Salford Business School

A new business, launched by a University Salford student, aims to boost employment prospects in the creative industries for those with autism.

Karl Mulgrew, has just completed a masters in Project Management in the Business School, realised there was an employment gap for autistic people in the music and performance industry, and created Autistic Musicians and Performers Society (AMPS) to help. And he has even assisted his own brother on his first steps to a career in the arts.

The aim of AMPS is to provide those with autism an equal opportunity in the music and performance industry. This is done through a tailored approach, depending on an individual’s place on the autism spectrum and their choice of job role.

Karl said “It’s such a hard and fast industry, there’s not a lot of time for worrying about things like this, and I don’t think that’s fair. People with autism get little or no support in these industries.”

As a person with autism having a bachelor’s degree in Music Business and experience as a music manager, Karl has the knowledge needed to envision what support those with autism in the music and performance industry would need.

“No two clients will be the same, so we help people on their terms, at their speed and with their responsive techniques,” Karl said. “In some cases where talent needs developing, we will provide a mentor in that instrument field and they can work together to improve instrumental or vocal abilities to an industry level standard.

“The first person I wanted to help was my brother. He’s autistic and he’s always been outwardly creative, but he didn’t understand how he could do it. I was in education at the time and I said ‘look, the best route for you is education’.

“With about six to eight weeks on a custom design programme I put him through, he’s now studying his Bachelors of Honours at Lincoln which is very strange from my perspective. I never would have thought he’d be able to do it, but he’s moved away from home, he’s outside his comfort zone and he’s doing really well.

“Autistic people don’t need a lot of money spent on them to be employed,” he continued. “We don’t need special equipment, we don’t need expensive equipment, we just need understanding, a bit of patience and a change of attitude, that’s it.”

Karl is part of the University of Salford business incubator, Launch @Salforduni. Launch was set up in 2018 with the idea of aiding students and alumni in developing their own business. As part of a six-month support programme, users get access to a plethora of support from the team, including training, guidance, office space and financial aid.

Justyna Turner, who runs the Launch @Salforduni incubator said: “Karl is very passionate about his business plan and will be making a huge difference by providing those with autism equal opportunities. I believe his business will be a great success and I’m looking forward to seeing how his ideas progress throughout his time with Launch.”   

Karl, who wants to do a PhD in Health and Social care, wants to develop AMPS to reach out to potential employers, agencies and his target demographic – people with autism. With hopes of gaining funding from Launch, Karl wants to spend the money on buying music recording equipment so AMPS can generate income that will be reinvested into the business.  

Applications are open to join Cohort 6 of the Launch Business Incubator.

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