In Part One of our Social Impact Report, we looked at our 'Theory of Change.’ This week we take a look at how the theory has come to life, through our work in supporting neurodivergent people into work, and what in-work support we can offer them once they are in a role.
Remember to get your Great Minds Think Different 2019 ticket to receive a digital copy of the full Social Impact Report in advance of the full release! We hope you enjoy our next instalment…
One of the main ways we decided to help neurodiverse people struggling to find work was by creating a programme aimed at helping unemployed candidates. Our Employment Academy (originally termed ‘Dyslexia Academy’) was created; a 6-week programme to help get people ready for work and feel more confident about their neurodivergence.
We believed that getting people to confront and embrace the way their mind works was a crucial step in getting back into the workplace, with the aim being to allow those feeling ‘held back’ given the chance to showcase their talent and ability. We held a number of workshops, training sessions and talks throughout the programme, with a one-to-one session at the end to discuss next steps.
And we were pretty happy with the results - 83% of participants said they felt ready for work after completing the programme. We continue to keep contact with our academy graduates, many of whom are now in employment!
For those who felt more confident about applying for jobs, we decided to offer confidential one-to-one mentoring. This included people looking for employment, a change in career, or just advice. We thought this was important to help neurodiverse candidates with issues from disclosing, to drafting CVs and cover letters.
With many neurodivergent people also finding written and other online resources difficult to digest, we saw face-to-face interaction with a member of our neurodiverse team a more welcoming and personal way to support those in need of help.
Since June 2018, we have held over 300 individual mentoring sessions (at the time of which the Social Impact Report was produced), enabling people to think beyond their experiences and think about what talents they have and where they can go in the future.
Below are two case studies of neurodivergent candidates we have supported into employment:
Supporting neurodivergent people into work isn’t the only way to support our neurodiverse candidates. We work a lot with those in-work, offering advice and carrying out Work Place Needs Assessments (WPNAs) to help ensure their workplaces are suited to accommodate the employee’s needs.
Without the right support or adjustments, neurodivergent employees can be held back from performing to the best of their ability. Assessing their needs ensures that this is avoided, and the candidate has what they need in order to thrive. Since we begun this work, we have carried out almost 100 Work Place Needs Assessments for candidates.
Once we have assessed these needs, we provide recommendations to employers for adjustments to be put in place to support the neurodiverse individual. This can range from assistive technology being installed in the workplace, to training courses provided. Funding for this often comes from the Government’s Access to Work Scheme, which we support employers and candidates through.
In 2018/19 we have: provided over 1,900 hours of in-work support, and helped people access over £95,000 worth of support through Access to Work.
As we can see, our ‘Theory of Change’ seems to be working, but there’s still much more work to be done. There are still lots of neurodivergent people that are struggling with application processes, working in spaces that don’t suit their needs and have never even heard about Access to Work.
That is why we don’t just work with candidates, but we work with employers too. Helping neurodivergent people become more confident in their strengths is fantastic, but if application processes and workplace cultures remain traditional and challenging for neurodivergent minds, then our progress is slow.
In our next part of the Social Impact Report, hear about how we up-skill companies and their workforces, provide advice and guidance, and conduct workplace audits, all in the name of neurodiversity.
If you’d like to know more about the work we do, or want to work with us, please give us a call on 0208 133 6046. Alternatively, you can fill in our contact form.