Eleven people with Autism Spectrum Disorder have commenced traineeships at HP Australia's ICT Hub in Adelaide, in association with the Department of Human Services (DHS), Autism South Australia and the Specialist People Foundation.
The Dandelion program aims to provide people with Autism Spectrum Disorder with appropriate traineeships.
The idea is avoid the stereotypes of mental disability at one extreme and 'brainiacs' at the other, and instead focus on finding people with the right skills, aptitudes and qualities for particular types of work, in this case software testing for DHS. (A dandelion is either a weed or a herb, depending on where it is growing.)
The program's name comes from the logo of the Specialist People Foundation, which has the goal of providing one million jobs for people with autism and similar disorders.
Foundation founder Thorkil Sonne said "These trainees are pioneers and through their work they are demonstrating the value for employers to recruit talent among people with ASD in Australia."
The collaboration between DHS and HP has provided the right opportunity to bring the program to Australia, he said.
"This collaboration has been outstanding and sets the example for the public, private and non-profit sector to make a difference in how society regards people with ASD and similar challenges.
"It is great to be in Adelaide and see firsthand the wonderful results of the program, and this is just the beginning."
The program already operates in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.
DHS CIO Gary Sterrenberg said "The partnership between DHS, HP and Specialisterne will provide immense value by giving us access to a unique skillset.
"It will also provide us with an avenue to tap into similar opportunities to enhance our ability to deliver outcomes for the Australian citizen."
Minister for Human Services Senator Marise Payne said "We are excited to bring this opportunity to Adelaide and our ICT Hub is the perfect workplace to engage the trainees whose precise attention to detail and ability to systematically process information are very well suited to working in an ICT testing environment."
Footnote: iTWire has chosen not to link to the Specialist People Foundation's website as at the time of writing it appeared to have been suborned into delivering malware.