Global IT services company DXC Technology and Autism New Zealand are to set up a centre in New Zealand to help individuals on the autism spectrum gain skilled jobs in industries such as hospitality, accounting, agriculture and IT.
The Enterprise Centre is due to open mid 2020 as part of Autism NZ’s new facility in Wellington and DXC said it would offer one of the world’s first on-site training and learning facilities preparing young autistic people for the working world.”
“The Enterprise Centre will include a cyber security and technology centre and will capitalise on the knowledge of the already established National Autistic Society (NAS) Enterprise Centre in the United Kingdom,” it said.
“NAS set up the world’s first school for autistic children in 1965, and in 2018 opened an Enterprise Centre as part of its Enterprise Campus. DXC and Untapped Group, which manage the attraction, sourcing and supporting of neurodiverse talent, are currently working with NAS on developing a cyber security and IT centre in the UK.”
Autism New Zealand already runs an employment support programme in Auckland, and CEO Dane Dougan said the partnership with DXC would allow it to extend the programme.
“Employment for adults is a focus for Autism New Zealand and to be able to work on developing an enterprise sector is the next logical step in the development of employment services,” he said.
The centre will also leverage the experience gained from DXC’s Dandelion Program that, according to DXC, employs over 100 people in Australia and is the basis for leading research on autism in the workplace.
Also, DXC said it would leverage its global relationships with Symantec, Splunk and Untapped to assist with training, assessment and on-going support at the new Enterprise Centre.
DXC already uses the cyber security talents of individuals with autism for the Australian Government’s Department of Defence and for banks.
Michael Fieldhouse, leader of DXC Australia’s social impact practice leader and Dandelion Program executive, said the partnership with Autism New Zealand would allow DXC to bring the knowledge and experience gained from the DXC Dandelion Program to scale for New Zealand and influence employment into high demand industries outside of IT.
“The new Enterprise Centre will build on the success of the DXC Dandelion Program, which has focussed on establishing careers for autistic people, particularly in cyber security, data analytics and software testing,” he said.
“The centre will help employers to understand and learn what is required to ensure sustainable employment for those on the autistic spectrum.”