Neurodivergents could help Scottish tech companies flourish
Scotland’s technology industry, along with schools, colleges and universities, are being asked to do more to help neurodivergent people into jobs to plug the widening skills gap in the fast-growing digital economy.
A report published by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) states that tech employers in particular are missing out on a massive talent pool, with proven skills that can improve productivity, creativity and innovation in the workplace.
Neurodiversity in Digital Technology recommends tech employers take action to benefit from increased neurodiversity in their teams, including changing job ads to be more inclusive and easier to read, and introducing more flexible recruitment processes that offer more practical task-based interviews.
The report also made it clear that more needs to be done in schools and further education to encourage neurodivergent people to study digital technology skills.
Claire Gillespie, Digital Technology Skills Manager at SDS, said: “We need to change the attitudes of those with a poor understanding of neurodiversity, as well as their reactions to people who display different behaviours. We also need to adapt the way neurodivergents are taught, such as less focus on writing for those with dyslexia and less group work for those with autism.”
Beverley Harrow, who lives in St Andrews, Fife and is the mother of two children with Asperger’s, welcomed the report. Her youngest son, 16-year-old Geordie, has decided to pursue a career in cyber security after attending an SDS workshop on ethical hacking. He is also now undertaking a Foundation Apprenticeship in Software Engineering.
She said: “I’ve got a lot to thank SDS for. Not only did they help steer Geordie on to a career path he is ideally suited to, but knew nothing about until the workshop, they have also produced this much-needed report which verifies what I’ve always campaigned for.
“I strongly believe that disability should never be a barrier to achievement, but to facilitate success it will take the combined skills of the educators and employers to make this the norm rather than the exception.”
SDS is also encouraging tech companies to plug the ever growing skills gap by recruiting apprentices. Employing and training new starts can sometimes be time-consuming and costly, however, apprenticeships offer an ideal solution. You get financial help to bring in young, passionate and motivated talent, who can hit the ground running and contribute to the bottom line very quickly as they put into practice what they learn.
SDS is also keen to point out that apprenticeships are not just for new starts. Work-based learning can also be used for upskilling and reskilling existing staff. So, if jobs are changing, then a tech-based apprenticeship can upskill/reskill someone from one role to another while allowing the organisation to keep the wider knowledge that person has of the business.
There are digital apprenticeships for a range of tech roles. GRADUATE APPRENTICESHIPS l Cyber Security l Data Science l IT: Software Development l IT: Management for Business MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS l IT & Telecoms l IT & Telecoms Technical l Information Security l Information Security Technical l Digital Marketing l Creative and Digital l Digital Applications l Project Management Technical l Data Analysis Technical FOUNDATION APPRENTICESHIPS l Creative and Digital l IT: Software Development l IT: Hardware and Systems Support
To read the Neurodiversity in Digital Technology report visit here.
Getting the best out of patient data is key to unlocking future health benefits in Scotland
It is important that clinicians’ voices are heard in the consultation around Scotland’s new health and care data strategy, which closes this week (12 August). Busy GPs like myself are the trusted…
How motherhood helped me be a better leader
Consider this an open letter to anyone I have worked with before I became a mother and before I fully understood how being a parent is actually a prized asset…
‘We cannot achieve our goals without entrepreneurs’ – Kate Forbes on vision for new ‘tech scaler’ network
From the very start of my ministerial career, I have had responsibility for the Scottish tech sector – and I can still say what I have said from the start,…
Finding a role in cyber was ‘tough’ for Cheryl Torano. Now she’s determined to help other women join an under-represented industry
When I decided to upskill to change careers at the age of 30 and dive into the digital world, I knew I would be starting out at the bottom of…
Why innovation and marketing are the perfect partners to make changes that matter￼
With the rapid evolution of traditional marketing and the appearance of digital marketing, technology and innovation has become part of any marketer’s life without the need of working for a…
Transitioning to a four-day week – CEO’s vow to strike a healthier balance in the workplace
I came to Scotland nearly 20 years ago from Ireland, with no contacts but a lot of determination. While Ireland will always be my home, Scotland has given me amazing…
Women Lead: The female-led company championing intuitive working
Over the last two years, the pandemic forced a shift to more remote and flexible working practices. Whilst we might be seeing a “return to normal”, some companies are choosing…
Women Lead: My passion for young people to consider a career in digital
Twenty years ago, I stumbled across my career in digital marketing almost by accident. It was during my honours degree in marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University. I was on work…