When people think of conditions such as autism they tend to focus on the difficulties associated with them. However, neurodiverse minds have a great many strengths too.
While some patterns of thought and neurodiversities can make certain tasks more difficult, they can equally be of benefit in other areas.
As part of the Autism Internship Programme at Essex County Council, the recruitment process was overhauled and instead of focusing on how able someone is at describing their ‘competence’, it was designed to look at what candidates enjoy doing and have a natural aptitude for. Candidates were then matched to roles that will enable them to play to their strengths during the internship.
Sharon Loivette, Talent Solutions Manager at Capita, who developed the programme in partnership with the Council said, ‘As with any employee, the trick is to work towards the strengths of staff rather than trying to fit square pegs into round holes. This is not to say that people can’t develop, but rather that it is worth recognising and using existing strengths where possible. While someone with autism, for example, may not be the best communicator, they can bring a focus and dedication that is hard to ignore’.
It is anticipated that this internship can serve as a pipeline to meet the recruitment needs of Essex County Council; giving hiring managers access to a pool of motivated individuals who can bring fresh thinking and innovation to the workplace.
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