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Autistic people do excel in workplace

Friday 28 April 2017 – New Zealand has an untapped resource at the ready to fill gaps in the workforce provided they get the support they need to excel, says the charitable trust charged with providing trusted national autism information and advice.

Altogether Autism, part of Life Unlimited Charitable Trust, says the rate of diagnosed autism globally is approaching 2 per cent, which represents almost 100,000 people in New Zealand.

A recent survey in the United Kingdom suggests that only 12 per cent of higher functioning adults with autism work full time. For those with more challenging forms of autism, that falls to less than 2 per cent.


Catherine Trezona

“That means we have people living in our country who with support and encouragement can become high-performing employees,” says Altogether Autism national manager Catherine Trezona.

Individuals with autism, while often challenged socially and verbally have many critical skills needed by companies of all sizes including attention to detail, high diligence, perseverance and a low tolerance for mistake.

Life Unlimited has partnered with Specialisterne, an organisation based in Denmark with the goal of creating one million jobs globally for people with autism by 2025.

John Craven, the foundation chairman of Specialistern Australia, will spend a week in New Zealand from Sunday (30 April) visiting companies and politicians to explain how establishing innovative programmes in the workforce can benefit the employer, its employees and the autistic talent present in the country.

He has over 40 years experience in assisting clients to harness technology to achieve real results through business innovation.

Working with senior executives and boards of directors Craven has helped many organisations to identify innovation opportunities, establish and direct programs to implement them and develop business strategies to drive transformation and deliver value.

About John Craven

John Craven is the foundation chairman of Specialisterne Australia and is a member of the board of directors of the Specialisterne Foundation an organisation based in Denmark with the goal of creating one million jobs globally for people with Autism by 2025.

In 2015 John accepted the challenge laid down by Specialisterne’s founder, Thorkil Sonne, to expand Specialisterne’s reach to Australia and New Zealand.

Building on a core agreement with Hewlett Packard to establish the HPE Dandelion Program in Australia, John established the Specialisterne Australia organisation as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Specialisterne Foundation (Denmark).

Since 2015 Specialisterne Australia has enabled over 80 careers in areas as diverse as Information Technology (cyber security and testing), project administration, engineering and agriculture.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Melbourne University and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. John is also a member of the board of Social Venture Partners in Melbourne and managing director of boutique management consulting firm Craven Innovation.

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