Research suggests that many individuals with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) possess skills and characteristics that are highly sought after in the IT industry, including high levels of concentration, perseverance for repetitive actions, patterns recognition and attention to detail. According to a National Autistic Society study as few as 15% of autism-diagnosed individuals in the UK are in full-time employment.
Specialisterne has recently launched in Northern Ireland as a Community Interest Company. Locally Specialisterne has placed candidates in software testing and UNIX/Web hosting roles and is partnering with a number of large software houses and telecoms providers in the Belfast area.
Equiniti, a Microsoft Gold Partner, employs 2,700 people including 280 on Belfast’s Harbour Estate, and provides a range of business software solutions and services to clients across the UK and Ireland. The Belfast operation specialises in the development of HR and payroll, complaints, case and customer relationship management tools.
Charlie Tuxworth, Director of Innovation at Equiniti, comments: “Specialisterne’s program is of significant value to both candidates and employers in the local IT sector. I was therefore delighted to be given the opportunity to join the board in Belfast.
“I have been at Equiniti for close to 20 years and during that time my focus has been on ensuring that software development projects are delivered on time and to budget. Much of this has been achieved by facilitating good communication and collaboration between the teams regardless of the background, skills or cultural differences of the team members.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the team to progress more people with an ASD into suitable employment in Northern Ireland.”
Sharon Didrichsen, Specialisterne Manager for Northern Ireland said: “We are delighted that Charlie is joining the Specialisterne NI board. We believe that Charlie will bring insight in terms of his experience in managing a culturally diverse workforce within IT, and look forward to applying this knowledge to the integration of Autistic culture within the work space.
“Charlie is heavily involved in Innovation in his role at Equiniti and we look forward to the creative process of uncovering new solutions to overcome social and perceptual barriers that our candidates can face."