New Hub to Support Students with Autism into Employment

Students with autism, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other neurodiverse needs will soon have greater access to employment opportunities through a new Queensland hub.

The University of Queensland and DXC Technology have partnered to form the Queensland Neurodiversity Hub, which will help students gain work experience with DXC and its partnership organisations.

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Dr Anna Krzeminska from UQ Business School says neurodiversity can be a beneficial trait in the workplace, and the Neurodiversity Hub would help connect these skilled students with employers.

“For example, individuals with mild forms of autism have normal to above-normal cognitive abilities that could greatly benefit the productivity and competitiveness of organisations,” she said.

“And yet, people with autism experience the lowest labour force participation rates when compared to any other demographic in Australia.”

Dr Krzeminska is leading a study to investigate the challenges, lessons and effective practices large organisations face in sustaining skilled autism employment, funded by the Autism Cooperative Research Centre and the Australian Institute for Business and Economics.

While the study found challenges ensuring organisations adapt, Dr Krzeminska is excited about the changes that are occurring, particularly with global IT services company DXC Technology partnering on the hub.

“We see CEOs from Fortune 500 companies who are deeply committed to working on these changes,” Dr Krzeminska said.

“We are at a tipping point for changing the way we think about diversity and inclusion on a larger scale.

“We see embracing people on the spectrum in workplaces as having a positive flow-on effect to all aspects of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”

Neurodiversity refers to a range of individual brain functions and behavioural traits, regarded as part of the normal variation in the human population, including autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

This was originally published by the University of Queensland.

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