Neurodiverse students get a career kick-start at new virtual hub

28 August 2018

Macquarie University students with autism, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and dyslexia will gain employment opportunities and support at the first university-based Neurodiversity Hub in New South Wales.

The new partnership with DXC Technology will help improve neurodivergent students’ employability through applied research and work experience and job opportunities with organisations such as DXC, SAP, ANZ and government agencies.

The Hub founding Director and Associate Professor Anna Krzeminska from the Department of Management said the hub will help students become work-ready and connect them to mentoring and rewarding work that suits their individual capabilities.

“People with neurodiverse needs typically have many strengths that would benefit potential employers, like having great attention to detail and problem-solving abilities, and being quick learners,” said Associate Professor Krzeminska.

“Despite this, people on the autism spectrum are six times as likely to be unemployed than a neuro-typical person. As well as expanding career opportunities for neurodivergent students, the Hub will build a pipeline of talent for employers who recognise the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce and support important research in this area.”

Associate Professor Krzeminska and her research team have received funding from DXC and the Autism Cooperative Research Centre to investigate the challenges and develop best practice frameworks for large organisations to recruit, hire and retain adult employees on the autism spectrum.

DXC Dandelion Program and Neurodiversity Hub executive Michael Fieldhouse said: “We know that 85 per cent of people on the autism spectrum are unemployed or underemployed. Our primary objective, through the hub, is to help provide neurodiverse students with the necessary skill development and opportunities required for employment.

“The hub is an expansion of our knowledge and experience from the DXC Dandelion program, and evidence based longitudinal research. It will also provide a platform for both DXC and our partners to share knowledge and experience to create a more inclusive work environment and provide business leadership to other employers.”

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