For the first time in Australia, the Department of Human Services and HP Australia will work together with Danish company Specialist People Foundation to provide skilled employment for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Minister for Human Services Senator the Hon Marise Payne said an agreement between the three organisations, which will provide 12 candidates with employment through a three-year traineeship, was signed last night.

“We are proud to be working with such progressive organisations to provide people with Autism Spectrum Disorder a fantastic opportunity to work in a field that allows them to harness their unique skills and ability,” Minister Payne said.

“This is DHS and HP’s first project of its kind in Australia, as well as the first Specialist People Foundation engagement in the country.

The trainees will be employed by HP and based in the department’s Adelaide ICT hub.

“Our ICT hub in Adelaide is the perfect work environment to engage these trainees, whose precise attention to detail and ability to systematically process information are very well suited to working on specialised software testing.”

HP Australia Managing Director Nick Wilson believes building a diverse and inclusive culture is the right thing to do from a societal standpoint and for business.

“At HP we believe diversity and inclusion create a competitive advantage, helping drive growth, productivity and innovation,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’re looking forward to providing rewarding employment for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, by matching their characteristics with specialist roles.

“Staff will commence their traineeships in December with training provided by HP Australia and Specialist People Foundation, while further education will be made available through Open Universities Australia and the University of South Australia.”

Specialist People Foundation Founder Thorkil Sonne said this employment concept has been successfully implemented by his organisation in 12 countries around the world.

“Our goal is to make one million jobs available to people with autism and similar challenges worldwide,” Mr Sonne said.

“We work to harness the special characteristics and talents of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and use them as a means to secure meaningful employment.

“This is the perfect partnership for our introduction into Australia and we are looking forward to seeing the benefits of this project, just as we have seen overseas.”

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