We are embracing diversity to enhance our workforce and have recruited two autistic employees seeking neurodiverse roles.
We have launched an employment pilot scheme with the North East Autism Society (NEAS) and Moving on Tyne & Wear (MOTW), which helps local people with health issues, disabilities, additional learning needs or autism, get into employment.
MOTW is joint funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, as part of the Building Better Opportunities programme. This nationwide initiative invests in local projects that tackle the root causes of poverty and promote social inclusion.
After passing an assessment to check that our offices in Wallsend are a suitable working environment for neurodiverse or autistic people with sensory needs – we have been welcomed as a fitting employer.
John Facchini from Moving on Tyne & Wear explains: “TT2 has made sure that their working environment meets the needs of our neurodiverse or autistic individuals, for example, they have a quiet room which is great for employees who need a place they can go to reset their senses and regulate if they feel overwhelmed. They also have a very friendly – what I call ‘family friendly’ – positive environment along with very good social responsibilities and strong peer and mentor support.
“We are excited to be working with TT2 to create opportunities for people who are really keen to get jobs and broaden their skills and horizons.”
Two neurodiverse recruits are the first of the pilot scheme to join the customer experience team. The main function of their roles is to review automatic number plate recognition camera images to determine whether the vehicle reg is a match to the automated plate recognition data. The task is very structured and therefore complements the skills and preferences of the employed individuals.
We employ 140 people following the move to open road tolling, which created over 80 new jobs for locals in the region. If the pilot scheme is successful, more roles will be tailored to, and made available to autistic or neurodiverse job seekers.
In the UK, 53.5% of disabled people aged 16 to 64 years were in employment compared with around 81.6% for non-disabled people (July to September 2021*). The ONS survey reported that disabled people with severe or specific learning difficulties, autism and mental illness had the lowest employment rates.
Our CEO, Philip Smith, said: “I strongly believe that the strength of any organisation lies in the diversity of its people. We are the sum of the range of individual perspectives of our team working at TT2 – and that is what I believe partnerships like this one with NEAS, will support. Thankfully, more and more these days, neurodiversity is being celebrated and appreciated for its strengths but as a society we still have a long way to go.”
The North East Autism Society provides all round support to autistic children, young people and adults.