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Not for Profits Harnessed for Federal Employment Program


9 February 2015 at 10:46 am
Xavier Smerdon
For the first time in Australia 11 people with Autism Spectrum Disorder have begun traineeships designed to harness their unique abilities at the Department of Human Services in Adelaide.

Xavier Smerdon | 9 February 2015 at 10:46 am


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Not for Profits Harnessed for Federal Employment Program
9 February 2015 at 10:46 am

For the first time in Australia 11 people with Autism Spectrum Disorder have begun traineeships designed to harness their unique abilities at the Department of Human Services in Adelaide.

Minister for Human Services, Senator Marise Payne, launched the program saying she was proud to see the Department working with the private and Not for Profit sectors to provide skilled employment opportunities for people with ASD through the “Dandelion” program.

“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,” Payne said.

"The 11 trainees are working with our testing teams to ensure the department's IT products and services meet the needs of the millions of Australians we assist every day.

"Through the three-year program the trainees have a unique opportunity to gain valuable work skills in an environment that enables them to perform their roles effectively while being supported by people who understand their abilities.”

The Managing Director of participating company HP South Pacific, Nick Wilson said that throughout the recruitment and induction stages the trainees demonstrated a unique blend of talent, passion and skills that would add a positive dimension to HP Australia's workforce.

“HP Australia is looking forward to seeing the trainees grow personally and professionally in ways that will enrich and reward them beyond their new employment,” Wilson said.

“The Dandelion program aligns strongly with HP's global Living Progress program, the company's commitment to bringing people and technology together to benefit the wider society.”

The name of the program is derived from the Dandelion logo for Danish organisation Specialist People Foundation, whose aim is to shift the focus from disability to ability, creating employment opportunities for people with ASD.

The Government said the Dandelion employment concept aims to provide one million jobs to people with autism and similar challenges worldwide and has already been successfully implemented in 12 countries.

Specialist People Foundation Founder Thorkil Sonne said the organisation was proud of the program and the way the trainees have embraced their new work environment.

"These trainees are pioneers and through their work they are demonstrating the value for employers to recruit talent among people with ASD in Australia," Sonne said.

"Since I first visited Australia six years ago I have received countless requests from families affected by ASD to bring the employment model here to create meaningful employment prospects.

"Finally, the right opportunity has come along with DHS and HP Australia.

"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 first hand the wonderful results of the program, and this is just the beginning."


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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