Home Strategy Symantec supports neurodiversity through HPE programme

Symantec supports neurodiversity through HPE programme

Symantec is supporting Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Australia with the Dandelion Program, focused on establishing careers and skills with people on the autism spectrum and removing some barriers to sustainable employment.

The Dandelion Program has relationships with the Australian Government, SAP, Cornell University, and the Autism Co-operative Research Centre in Australia, Specialisterne and the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University.

Ian McAdam, managing director, Pacific region, Symantec, said, “Diversity is a core part of Symantec’s corporate values and we are very pleased to be part of the neurodiversity movement through our support for the Dandelion Program.  As part of the programme, Symantec will be working closely with its partners in higher education to provide work experience to students on the autism spectrum and leveraging Dandelion Program material through Cornell University.”

Michael Fieldhouse, director – Emerging Businesses & Federal Government and Dandelion Program Executive, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, said, “We are so excited to have partners such as Symantec on board to help promote neurodiversity and assist in removing some barriers for people on the spectrum, to help them achieve sustainable employment, and provide them with skills to achieve careers in areas such as cybersecurity. The Dandelion Program is not only about employment with the ‘autism advantage’, but also focuses on building careers, individual skills, and resilience.”

Neurodiversity is a concept where neurological differences are to be recognised and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those labelled with Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Dyscalculia, Autistic Spectrum, Tourette Syndrome, and others.

The programme now employs more than 55 autistic people across the domains of software testing, data analytics, and cyber security. It was initially established with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the Australian Department of Human Services, and Specialisterne.

A work experience programme known as Dandelion@University gives students on the spectrum an opportunity to obtain work experience and build skills that will enhance their opportunities for employment in the ICT sector.

The programme also uses robotics that assists primary school students on the spectrum in learning times tables and roman numerals. It helps provide hope to children with autism that there will be jobs for them in the future, as people on the spectrum only have employment participation rates of 34%, compared to a disability participation rate of 53% in Australia.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!