18 Jun 5 qualities an apprentice with Asperger’s brings to the workplace
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism which affects about 1% of the population. People with Asperger’s are of average or above average intelligence. Unfortunately many employers may overlook a potential apprentice with Asperger’s simply because they have no understanding of the syndrome. Specifically, they are not sure about the impact in the workplace.
Notably, a recent study by the National Autistic Society showed that 99% of people have heard of autism. However only 16% felt they understood the condition. Consequently, this lack of awareness means that only 15% of people with autism are currently in employment. This is despite many holding an exceptional and unique skill set that would allow them to thrive in a variety of workplaces. Asperger’s shouldn’t be seen as a barrier. Instead employers should see it as an integral part of a potential employee’s personality and identity. To illustrate, here are just five qualities an employee or apprentice with Asperger’s can bring to the workplace.
Exceptional talents in certain areas
People with Asperger’s often have an area of special expertise or interest. They can be very passionate about their talents and will often want to develop themselves further. Many famous composers, artists, musicians, writers and actors have been diagnosed with, or are thought to have had Asperger’s. These talents and expertise are transferable into many job roles which require a creative flair or specific talent.
People with Asperger’s are more likely to have extraordinary technical ability. This makes them ideal employees for workplaces which need higher levels of technical ability. For example, in IT and STEM-focussed companies, or any organisation that requires regular on-hand technical advice.
Factual knowledge and memory
People with Asperger’s have average or above average intellect. Indeed many will have exceptional memories. So, in areas that particularly interest them they are able to retain a deep factual knowledge. This means that they can quickly become experts in certain fields. As a result they will be a valuable source of information for co-workers.
A key trait of people with Asperger’s is that they often prefer routine. Therefore an apprentice with Asperger’s is more likely to stay in a job for a longer period of time. Similarly, they enjoy repetition and rarely tire of the tedious aspects of jobs. They thrive with structure and enjoy a schedule and set days. Employers will also find that rates of attendance and punctuality are better as people with Asperger’s are extremely conscientious and honest. Many will enjoy rules and will follow instruction well.
Attention to detail
Another strength of people with Asperger’s is their ability to maintain focus and achieve accuracy. This is ideal for jobs where long periods of concentration and attention to detail are important. Their problem solving skills and logical approach are a great asset to have in the workplace. And they are often able to bring fresh ideas and approaches to the job.
In the United States, employers have recognised the enormous potential of individuals with Asperger’s and autism for some time. They see qualities like hyperability and hyperfocus as business benefits. tpm is dedicated to helping create a similar mindset in UK employers. We support and help apprentices with Asperger’s and autism into employment. Furthermore, we provide specialist advice to employers on how to support apprentices on the autistic spectrum. Specifically in ways that impact positively on business success.
Staff at tpm undertake regular training in autism spectrum awareness and support and have done for over 15 years. In addition, we provide work experience and employment opportunities to people with Asperger’s with great results.
For further information, please contact Brian Quinn.