Turning autism into a positive for employers
As a young man on the autism spectrum, Spencer was struggling to find work, and was about to join the 46% of people on the spectrum who are unemployed*.
With the help of Aspect Capable, Aspect's specialist employment program, Spencer has resently started working at Fujitsu Australia Limited, as a Trainee Repair Shop Technician.
Here's what Spencer and his new boss Louie, had to say about working with Aspect.
“My role presently at the National Repair Centre for Fujitsu is as trainee repair shop technician. The role involves getting hands on with printers, working out what’s wrong with them, diagnosing the problem using the system and then making the fixes we need to. I like how methodical it is. And how I can go through and try to refine the process and push myself to go further each day.
Aspect were initially in contact with Fujitsu, and told them the benefits of hiring someone on the spectrum. That allowed me to change what would have been a negative (my autism) for some employers into a positive for Fujitsu. Aspect helped me with interview tips, by sitting in on the interview with me and then working out what needed to be done to help me settle in when I started the job. Aspect have negotiated a number of adjustments for me within the role. I can use headphones and listen to music while I work, which helps me with a number of focus issues.
The big thing Fujitsu have done for me is give me someone I can turn to (my colleague James) if I am having a problem. Whenever I have a problem which would usually cause me to have a bit of a meltdown, I can simply turn to James and he helps me. It has helped me to keep stress at a really low level.
I went through years of feeling that if I disclosed I was on the spectrum to other people, they would see me as lesser, they would see me as less capable. And I found quite the opposite. They’ve been very accepting and have allowed the job to be moulded to better fit me, so that I can succeed, where I wouldn’t if I had just said ‘Oh, I’m just like everyone else.’”
Louie Pipicella, National Repair Centre Manager, Fujitsu Australia Limited
“Fujitsu had a role available in the National Repair Centre, so we sat down with Aspect Capable and went through the scope of work required and some of the skill sets that were required to fill the role. Aspect came back to us with multiple candidates and Spencer was the lucky candidate.
We are very happy with Spencer’s progress and look forward to Spencer growing with Fujitsu team. He is a valuable member of the repair centre and has shown willingness to learn and master the tasks at hand.
Spencer plays a vital role in meeting both Fujitsu & customer expectations and has earned the trust and respect of his fellow work colleagues not only in the repair centre, but also within the office as a whole. Spencer will soon be starting one day a week at TAFE and four days here at work, and hopefully within the year we will have a fully qualified technician on hand. That’s obviously win-win for everyone.
We’ve seen a positive impact in terms of Spencer’s inclusion. We here at Fujitsu understand people on the autism spectrum a lot better, so those barriers, have been broken down.
It could not have been possible without the support and guidance provided by Aspect.”
* according to a recent study by Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect).