The Neurodiversity Hub is being established through a number of universities around Australia and in some parts of the USA.
It will serve as a scalable, sustainable solution to improve employability of neurodivergent individuals and establish a pipeline of work-ready, talented candidates for employers.
To find out more about neurodiversity and the opportunities that the Hub will provide, see below.
WHAT IS NEURODIVERSITY?
Although there is broad diversity across the population, some individuals are affected by neurological differences that make it particularly challenging for their communication, self-expression and interactions with others. These neurological differences include autism (ASD), Asperger's syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and tics.
The environments within which these individuals learn, work and live can either facilitate or inhibit their growth and development.
The purpose of this initiative is to create environments that will maximally facilitate these individuals to grow and achieve their full potential.
WHY THE neurodiversity HUB?
There are hundreds of incredibly talented neurodivergent individuals studying in our universities and TAFEs who may never make it into the workforce due to lack of opportunities, differences in communication skills or other factors.
The aim of the Neurodiversity Hub is to:
- Support this untapped talent to shine, through focused training programs, academic accommodations, assistive technologies and flexible study arrangements.
- Link neurodivergent students with work experience, internships and employment opportunities.
- Improve the employability of neurodivergent university and TAFE students, establishing a pipeline of potential candidates for employers and boosting workforce participation rates.
The objectives of the Neurodiversity Hub include:
For neurodivergent students
Provide programs, skills and experience to support neurodivergent students in becoming work-ready, and building connections with organisations that value their talents
Assist students in obtaining work experience and internships
Increase overall employment opportunities
For potential employers
Create a pipeline of work-ready neurodivergent talent, that are typically creative, quick learners, task-focused, attention-to-detail orientated or problem solvers
Access training in how to work more effectively with neurodiverse people, including employees, customers and suppliers
Provide greater scale and sustainability for neurodivergent employment
Reduce costs of recruitment, assessment, on-boarding and support
For other PARTNERs IN THE HUB
Provide valuable opportunities for research in the area of neurodiversity
Facilitate innovation among Hub partners and collaborators
OpportunitIES for NeurodiverGENT Students
The intent is to provide programs to support neurodivergent students to become work-ready, and build connections with organisations that value their talents.
The activities offered in the University Neurodiversity Hub may include:
identification of strengths, and assessment of employability
undertaking 'enterprise readiness training', provided via e-learning platforms
attending seminars and workshops on social and life skills
participating in an industry mentoring program
being considered for internships or work experience assignments
working with disability services consultants on feedback from work experience opportunities.
Links to existing programs
The following organisations already have autism@work programs and inclusive hiring, seeking to support neurodivergent individuals.
OpportunitIES for employers
What does it mean to truly innovate?
It starts by changing the conversation - shifting perceptions when they previously seemed unshiftable and promoting growth through positive change. This is being seen in businesses around the world.
Perceptions of equality are changing for the better, with race, gender diversity and inclusivity rightfully becoming the norm. It is the people behind the businesses that have the power to promote social change - and we believe gender, cultural, racial and neurological diversity are essential ingredients to workplace innovation.
Our aim is for businesses big and small, to welcome neurodivergent students, to recognise and promote their strengths, and be aware of their unique needs. There are numerous potential benefits, including:
- increase in the quality and quantity of work outcomes
- increased job retention rates amongst neurodivergent graduates
- increased levels of pride in the organisation by neurotypical co-workers as a result of greater levels of diversity and inclusivity.
As seen with numerous organisations around the world, inclusivity and diversity is true innovation - creating something far greater than the sum of the parts.
The opportunities for employers to be involved in the Hub include:
- providing industry mentorships
- offering life skill seminars for students in their area of expertise
- providing internship/work experience opportunities
- participating in regular employer forums to share advice and discuss experiences
- accessing training to support becoming an autism-accepting employer
- gaining access to a pipeline of talented job candidates.
The Neurodiversity Hub has a number of partners that support and contribute to programs, providing ongoing opportunities for neurodivergent students. These include:
DXC is proud to be a founding sponsor of the NDH initiative and has provided significant input to its design, the material and tools that will be available and the creation of internships and work experience programs for participating students.
SAP looks forward to contributing to the development of the Neurodiversity Hub as a way of supporting neurodivergent students realise their potential.
The Westpac Group is proud to support the development of the Neurodiversity Hub initiative. We know the value of hiring for neurodiversity, with our Tailored Talent program bringing quality applicants into the Westpac Group since 2017. We’re proud to be working with universities and corporate Australia to support neurodiverse students into careers that benefit our customers and our community.
ANZ is excited to be involved in developing the Neurodiversity Hub initiative. Though our Spectrum Program, we have experienced the benefits of employing neurodivergent people. The hub will build on this, making it easier for students and employers to connect, and helping to address the unacceptably high levels of unemployment and wasted talent in this community.
NAB is pleased to support the NDH initiative to provide opportunities for neurodivergent students to realise careers in their chosen fields.
Xceptional is excited about contributing to the NDH to carve out a new future for neurodiverse students and jobseekers. We are providing opportunities both at Xceptional and also with our partner companies across the IT industry. This is an exciting time as more and more companies are embracing the autism advantage.
Service / resource providers
Uptimize, the leading provider of scalable neurodiversity training resources, plans to bring a specific set of tools and resources to the neurodiversity hub model.
Peoplebank is Australia’s largest IT and Digital Recruitment Specialist placing more than 4,500 candidates per year. We are partnering with organisations to give Neurodiverse candidates an edge in gaining meaningful careers.
Integrate offers assessment, education and training, recruiting and employment support services to employers to help them in their efforts to identify, recruit and retain qualified professionals on the autism spectrum.
We are excited to assist in realising this initiative. Our mission is to build high-performing teams from groups of highly-skilled individuals. We are passionate about identifying commercially-compelling opportunities in organisations for neurodiverse teams and uncovering extraordinary individuals to form those teams.
Blue Umbrella is a proud supporter of the Neurodiversity Hub initiative. Blue Umbrella incubates and accelerates businesses focused on meaningfully improving the lives of people with autism, other forms of neurodiversity and special needs. We do this through our suite of information products and services and extensive connections within our growing network of autism and neurotech companies, talented innovators, investors and corporate buyers
MeasureOne is a higher education data analytics company that enables students, employers, schools and lenders fully leverage academic data and student information through comprehensive data mining techniques. Rich transcript data can also be used to accelerate diversity and inclusion initiatives. Our reports can package and showcase essential information that compliments the academic transcripts of autistic and neuro-diverse candidates. This can enable employers to identify internship and job applicants who do not rise to the attention of recruiters via traditional approaches and who may be challenged in the interview process.
The Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability in the Cornell University ILR School (Ithaca, NY, USA) is pleased to contribute to the conceptualization of how to bridge educational and vocational opportunity for neuro-diverse youth in university settings, and to afford our future HR professionals from the ILR School a close-up opportunity to study such innovative initiatives.
The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre develops evidence-based strategies for supporting people with autism and their families. A key research theme is employment and transition to adulthood. The Centre is the research partner for DXC Technology’s innovative autism employment initiative, the Dandelion Program.
The University of Haifa Department of Occupational Therapy is dedicated to both training excellent qualified Occupational Therapists and conducting research about the role of purposeful activity (occupation) and its efficacy in human life, in health and in illness.
Universities involved in the initiative
The following universities are participating in the Neurodiversity Hub initiative:
In the usa
NEUrodiversity: definition and information
Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that argues diverse neurological conditions are a result of normal variations in the human genome. This portmanteau of neurological and diversity originated in the late 1990s as a challenge to prevailing views of neurological diversity as inherently pathological, instead asserting that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as a social category on a par with gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability status.
SUPPORTING TERTIARY AND VOCATIONAL COLLEGE STUDENTS WITH ASD
La Trobe University Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) has completed extensive research into ways of supporting tertiary students with ASD, including their transition from secondary school. The outcomes of this research has been distilled into three groups of materials for use by those impacted either directly or indirectly by autism:
Students: Information on what to expect at university and vocational college and the support services that may be available.
Staff: Information for tertiary staff to help them support students.
Parents: Information for parents of students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
neurodiversity at work
(CIPD - Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (UK) / Uptimize)
This guide is for HR professionals and leaders across functions who want to learn more about neurodiversity, the benefits for their organisation, and how they can support neurodivergent people to be comfortable and successful at work.
EMPLOYER GUIDE TO SUPERVISING INDIVIDUALS WITH ASD
(Rochester Institute of Technology - Spectrum Support Program)
Many employers are interested in hiring a group of capable yet under-utilized individuals: those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). You may encounter students on the Spectrum when recruiting and hiring RIT students for your organization. This guide will help you work effectively with these students as candidates and employees.
Understanding the characteristics of ASD
Understanding the benefits of hiring individuals with ASD
What can you do as a manager, interviewer, co-worker, or recruiter
AUTISM @ WORK PLAYBOOK
(Annabi, H., Crooks, E.W., Barnett, N., Guadagno, J., Mahoney, J.R., Michelle, J., Pacilio, A., Shukla, H. and Velasco, J. Autism @ Work Playbook: Finding talent and creating meaningful employment opportunities for people with autism. Seattle, WA: ACCESS-IT, The Information School, University of Washington, 2019.)
Finding talent and creating meaningful employment opportunities for people with autism.
AN EMPLOYER'S GUIDE TO MANAGING PROFESSIONALS ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM
(Marcia Scheiner (Integrate Autism Employment Advisors) with Joan Bogden)
This is a comprehensive reference guide for managers and colleagues of people with Asperger's Syndrome. The book outlines the day-to-day workplace challenges faced by those with AS and then provides practical strategies to solve them in a respectful way. This book will help anyone engage with and support co-workers with AS to ensure mutual success.
A GUIDE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS
(Rochester Institute of Technology - Spectrum Support Program)
This guide incorporates the ideas and successful practices of higher education professionals at postsecondary institutions who have worked with their universities to establish effective supports for students with ASD. (Published 2014)
NEURODIVERSITY HUB MODEL
Operating model for the Neurodiversity Hub initiative and Proposed Charter for NDH Advisory Group.
Developed by Mitch Butler and Chris Rogers, two interns from Cornell University ILR School - K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability (Jan-May 2018).