We sat down with Julia Martensson, Relationship Manager, Recruitment at Specialisterne to learn more about the work they are doing to create a better and more sustainable labour market for people on the autism spectrum or with similar neurodiversities.
Originally founded in Denmark, Specialisterne is Danish for “The Specialists” and now has operations in 14 countries worldwide. In Canada, their goal is to enable 25,000 jobs, contributing to a global goal of 1 million.
So what does Specialisterne do?
Specialisterne works with businesses to help them remove some of the barriers they face in accessing this underemployed talent pool by implementing better recruitment, onboarding and management practices. Our focus is on achieving systemic change for a large impact and change of mindsets within the business community.
Businesses partner with Specialisterne because they recognize the business value in hiring people who think and communicate differently and because they are interested in learning what they can do to engage with a largely overlooked talent population. Specialisterne works with these businesses to integrate proven practices in their operating environment.
Innovative recruitment, on-boarding and management practices provide an effective method of assessing candidate and job fit. It creates an environment that allows new employees, existing employees and managers to be at their best and most productive. This approach removes barriers, avoids bias and leads to equal or in most cases superior outcomes compared to standard recruitment practices that are a barrier to accessible employment opportunities.
Specialisterne works in different industries such as:
- Financial Services
- Health Care
- And many more
So what’s in it for Campus? A Post- Secondary Employment Bridging Program for neurodiverse students in Ontario.
Currently, Specialisterne is working with a select group of post-secondary institutions and employers on this program to provide students with autism or who identify with other neurodiversities with important employment experiences while they are in school. This allows them to initiate meaningful careers. These employment opportunities take the form of co-ops, internships, or summer placements whereas graduating students may find long term opportunities as well.
Their unique approach offers students a new avenue to employment through a recruitment process designed to minimize many of the barriers this population tends to face. Specialisterne works with its employer partners to identify rewarding co-op, summer internships and other short-term roles and work with their academic partners to make these available to students. Instead of an interview, students participate in a task-based workshop to discover their strengths and work style.
This is also an opportunity to get to know the students’ interests and how they work in a low-pressure environment, allowing students to bring their whole selves and showcase their skills. The workshop also includes discussions on workplace disclosure, self-advocacy and understanding of the AODA as it relates to neurodiversity. Once students go through the workshop they are eligible to apply for jobs in their database. Specialisterne works closely with each student and employer to help facilitate a successful integration into the role and on-going success in the role.
Currently, the following post-secondary institutions have partnered with Specialisterne under this initiative:
- Seneca college
- University of Guelph
- University of Waterloo
- Carleton University
- Algonquin College
- McMaster University and;
- Ryerson University
However, students and those supporting them can have access to what Specialisterne has to offer by getting in contact with them.
To learn more about Specialisterne and the work they do visit specialisterne.ca/bridge, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416- 479- 0689 ext. 211 or for more information.