The ATO understands the value of a neurodiverse workforce and in September 2018 engaged Specialisterne to tap into autistic talent in order to improve their efficiency and create a more diverse work environment. Through the Specialisterne Australia Federal Government Talent Hub they were able to create a new pathway for suitable candidates on the autism spectrum and as a result nine individuals were subcontracted into roles within the agencies IT department. These roles included entry-level testing, applications development & system analysts.
The four week assessment program consisted of a variety of onsite workshops, simulated activities and practical work experiences. With the program being offered onsite it allowed the ATO hiring managers to be actively engaged in the recruitment process and to observe the participants interactions with other candidates as well as to observe how they handled the various activities. “It was much easier and less stressful than normal application processes” commented one candidate.
By using our practical patient approach participants were slowly eased into the program which aimed to reduce any additional stress or anxiety that can sometimes surface during traditional recruitment methods. By avoiding the anxiety of completing an interview, participants were able to take the time to become more familiar with the workplace environment and to better understand the organisation and its culture all whilst obtaining valuable hands-on experience.
One successful candidate said “Having a job for the first time is a big one, it’s given me routine and a schedule as well as an outlet to being productive and part of a team”.
Another candidate from the program said: “Not only have I been able to show all that I am, it has allowed me to be ME in order to do it, and that has been the most refreshing part”.
Throughout the entire program Specialisterne worked with the ATO to build their capacity and aimed to enable their staff through a series of autism specific training and awareness programs. These programs included several general autism awareness training sessions, specific training for identified mentors, leadership training which included both small group and 1-1 sessions along with three months of post placement support.
The ATO spoke of their new recruits as “Very suitable, driven by proficiency in systems and understanding of broad concepts and continued willingness to learn.”
One manager said “I think it has been an awesome program and I have only been involved for a short period of time. The support people offered are wonderful, both Specialisterne and EPIC Assist. I couldn’t rave enough. The guys working with me in the program have been great and I am really excited to see them excel and their careers take off”.