Where one per cent of the Dutch population has been diagnosed with autism, just 25 per cent of them manages to enter the job market. Nonetheless, many companies could use the specific talents that come with autism to their advantage. Among many other institutions, the Dutch Ministry of Defence and Careanimations encourage employees with autism to join the ranks, with the help of recruitment agency AutiTalent.
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS: AUTITALENT | MAIN PHOTO: ROB NEETER.
“When hiring, you end up fishing in the same ponds most of the time,” explains Ellen Dieperink, project leader at the Dutch Ministry of Defence. “As a government institution, we think it is important to also give chances to those for whom applying and working is a bigger challenge. People with autism often have specific talents which we really need. For example, they can focus for long periods of time and deliver precision and consistent quality. Those are rare talents to find.” The recruitment, they leave in the hands of AutiTalent. They suggest people for every job offer, and who initially start working at the ministry as posted employees. “If we feel that the match is right for both parties, we will offer them a permanent job after a while. After two years of working with AutiTalent, around 20 people have been implemented at the ministry of defence’s administration, communication, logistics, buying, facility and IT department already. And that had nothing but positive effects on their self-esteem, the quality of our work and the atmosphere at the office.”
At Careanimations, a Dutch start-up that turns abstract package inserts and medical advice into comprehensive, multilingual animation videos, the collaboration with AutiTalent runs very smoothly. “Once we finish a video about a certain topic, we have to translate it into versions for young and old, men and women,” explains the company’s director Rob Neeter. “That is a very repetitive, routinely job which requires a high level of accuracy and a great sense of responsibility. We notice that this profile matches people with autism like a glove. Upon our request, AutiTalent has recruited some talented employees for us who, by now, are invaluable to our company.”
To create as many success stories as possible, AutiTalent offers guidance to both the companies and the employees throughout the process. This way, the ‘AutiTalents’ can kick off their careers in the best of circumstances.