As the new academic term approaches, we are excited to announce that National College of Ireland has partnered with Specialisterne Ireland to promote and support the employability of autistic students and graduates of the college.
Specialisterne Ireland is a not-for-profit recruitment consultancy organisation which provides employability support for people with autism, Aspergers and similar challenges by equipping them with the skills to communicate effectively in the workplace and throughout the job application process.
For over a decade, Specialisterne Ireland has worked with companies to develop their hiring practices to enable the inclusivity of autistic people by removing barriers to employment while providing support structures for employees with these challenges. Their team has done an outstanding job proving the business value of hiring talented people who think and communicate differently and by building the capacity for diversity in the workplace.
Many companies in Ireland already understand the significance of autistic employees on their business. SAP Ireland developed their Autism at Work scheme in 2013 committing to employing 1% of their global workforce with individuals on the autism spectrum therefore reducing the barriers to entry for this group so that qualified applicants can fully develop their potential. The business software provider partnered with Specialisterne Ireland on a global scale to support the recruitment process with Managing Director of SAP Ireland commenting:
Employing people with autism has brought a greater sense of cohesion to our teams. It has also allowed us to bring additional talent on board through a different channel as people with autism tend to be more technically minded and think in a diverse but structured way. This is a way of harnessing that talent and diversifying our workforce at the same time.
As many individuals on the autism spectrum struggle with job interviews, the college recognises the advantages our partnership with this specialised group represents for our students and recent graduates. With high unemployment rates among autistic people in Ireland, this partnership will ensure our students and graduates benefit from relevant and appropriate resources to support their integration into the workplace after graduation and that our partner companies see the value of this untapped group of talented individuals.
With their many years of experience and their knowledge of recruitment along with the business sector and autism, a skilled team of experts from Specialisterne Ireland will provide an intensive interview skills programme work for our undergraduate students with autism which will include:
• Individual student assessment
• CV preparation and guidance
• Interview training and coaching
This programme will consist of weekly appointments over a six-week period at no extra cost to the student. Along with personalised interview preparation sessions, Specialisterne Ireland’s team will provide guidance on workplace etiquette and the corporate environment. Following student's participation in internships for courses which include this option, further support will be provided to incorporate new experiences into interview answers when applying for jobs post-graduation.
For recent NCI graduates, Specialisterne Ireland will arrange for candidates to be recruited through an autism-friendly process through our employer partnerships. Following a multi-stage assessment process, candidates may be placed in one of the organisation’s partner companies and paid at a full rate for their work. Additionally, employment support will be provided for graduates placed in roles in a partner company as part of this process.
National College of Ireland is committed to creating practical and sustainable solutions to promote the inclusivity of people with autism, Aspergers and similar challenges into the workplace alongside the expertise of Specialisterne Ireland.
If you require further information about this initiative or would like to get involved, get in touch with Caroline Kennedy, Careers & Opportunities Officer on the NCI Careers Team.
Specialisterne Ireland is funded by Ability, a programme that is co-financed by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.