NSW Liberal women pledge council jobs for autistic workers as local election campaign ramps up
A group of female Liberal Sydney councillors and local candidates have pledged to hire autistic workers for IT jobs.
The eastern suburbs Liberals leading the push have got some party mates from other Sydney councils on board as well.
Randwick candidate Joanne McCafferty, who is the mother of a teenager on the spectrum, said neurodiverse people often excel in cyber security and data-driven jobs.
“Councils can benefit from the skills of these uniquely talented Australians,” she said.
The councillors and candidates promised job placement opportunities and free training.
The pledge comes as the campaign for local elections ramps up in NSW.
Election day is December 4, but in a pandemic-inspired first, all voters are eligible to cast their ballot early as long as they do it in person.
Some voters meeting strict criteria will also be able to vote online or over the phone.
“Voter safety is paramount, as is ensuring every eligible voter in NSW has a chance to have their voice heard,” NSW Electoral Commissioner John Schmidt said.
Woollahra councillor Mary-Lou Jarvis said government so far hasn’t taken enough advantage of the unique skills possessed by people on the autism spectrum.
“Often neurodiverse people are extremely focused and highly skilled in mathematics or data analysis in ways that can be harnessed to improve service delivery, yet they are performing menial jobs or on social security benefits,” she said.
Autism expert Tony Attwood said those claims were correct.
“We need to recognise those particular talents, which are to an advantage,” he told NCA NewsWire.
“They are very good at spotting errors. They’re very good at systems and patterns, and noticing where patterns break and errors occur.
“And this is why companies like banks, and some of the multinational companies are actually specifically recruiting autistic individuals, because their work rate, their abilities and talents are recognised by the companies.”
Dr Attwood, a clinical psychologist specialising in autism, said that people on the spectrum often aren’t appreciated enough for their talents.
“Which is terrible for their self esteem, because they‘re underachieving,” he said.
“And yet they’ve got talents. We need to be aware that what often inhibits their job is social skills.
“And in autism, social skills are an issue. But having a career is more than the ability just to pass the social dimensions of an interview. It’s how well you do actually in the job.”
Originally published as NSW Liberal women pledge council jobs for autistic workers as local election campaign ramps up
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