Employment Creation for Asperger People in the ICT Sector

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Employment Creation for Asperger People in the ICT Sector: Sustainably Grow Innovative Partnership Model to Other Companies in Ireland

Dublin and now Belfast and Galway, IrelandDublin and now Belfast and Galway
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The five-year objective of Specialisterne Ireland is to create employment for 50 people with high functioning autism, Aspergers. Jobs are mainly expected to be created within the ICT sector.
After a year and 5 people working, the company now needs to grow in cooperation and support of its main partner and stakeholder, SAP Ireland

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

86% of individuals with ASD typically remain unemployed while many are suitable for the IT sector. - There are 4,500 vacancies in Ireland in IT - There are an estimated 1,500 unemployed but suitable people for the Specialisterne Ireland model - Matching the two needs is about changing corporate mind-sets while at the same time providing relevant employment assessment and skills for unemployed Asperger people

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Specialisterne Ireland approach, as a social enterprise, is to adopt a candidate focused method of identifying, assessing, and matching individuals to actual roles for which they will get the "rate for the job". Recognizing the employers' needs for talent it focuses its efforts on communicating with them that, with some initial support and advice, they can obtain that talent from the relatively untapped resource that is the Asperger population. That is Specialisterne Ireland in addition to minimising the risk to the employer by its thorough assessment process further reduces the perceived risk by contracting out its personnel initially but with a view to their being made permanent once their ability as good employees is proven.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Key steps: 1. Identification. Candidates are identified by working with autistic agencies and various communications efforts. 2. Assessment. Our team, with backgrounds in autism, IT placement, social work and gifted people, assess and observe for suitability and technical and behavioural potential. 3. Matching. Networking closely with employers, which in addition to SAP, are Microsoft, and Frontline Defenders, to identify roles. 4. Placement. A candidate is introduced to a role which is easiest for him, eg. often bypassing the standard HR interview process. 5. Support is provided to the candidate and the host company at the start and ongoing. A "candidate driven process" results in the optimum fit and likelihood of sustained employment.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The potential market is estimated at 1,500 candidates in Ireland with an additional 100 to 200 candidates each year as better education supports mean that more are obtaining qualifications suitable for the IT sector. It is expected, that with the help of SAP in particular, companies will become more receptive to the employment of Asperger people once the model is proven with the first 5 or 10 candidates. Therefore in addition to establishing additional partnerships eg. Belfast to launch ion April 9 and first candidate is due for employment in Galway by SAP. We are also using communications to increase awareness and acceptance.(Four media pieces in April ,14 including Wall Street Journal attached)

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Charities and autism organisations, State Health and Education services tend to focus on younger people rather than on our target age of 18 to 44. State employment services apply a general approach that is not autistic specific. Specialisterne works interdependently with all. It takes referrals from them while at the same time referring candidates to organisations where their services are needed. In some cases Specialisterne, as the initial employer, receives state employment subsidies. Specialisterne is a registered service provider for the employment of Aspergers people.


Brian Horgan, Probationary Officer, Masters in Social Work (Full time) Sharon Didrichsen, IT Recruitment Consultant, Masters in Autism (Full) Debbie Merrigan, Support to High Performing individuals, Masters in Education (Full time) Peter Brabazon, Graduate Engineering Manager, Higher Diploma in Strategy (Full time) Frank Holt, Accountant, (Full and Board) Mary Ann McCormack, Business CEO (Part time and Board). Elaine Houston, Masters in Autism and also in IT, Full time for an initial year.