Every female Liberal Councillor and candidate in the City of Sydney’s and Eastern Suburbs has united and vowed to fight to ensure their councils hire digitally skilled, neurodiverse workers to improve council services.
Councillors and candidates from The City of Sydney, Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils have united to call on the neurodiverse living in their local government areas, to take advantage of free high-value online courses and job placement opportunities.
“The most in-demand jobs in the country are digital skills areas like cyber security, data analysis, software and coding, and that is an area where the neurodiverse often excel,” said Randwick candidate Joanne McCafferty, the mother of a teenager on the autism spectrum.
Councillor McCafferty said that the Liberal women’s plan to tap into free training was a win-win for local government.
“Councils can benefit from the skills of these uniquely talented Australians,” said McCafferty. “It wasn’t hard convincing other Liberal women that this was an important thing to do.’’
Woollahra Clr. Mary-Lou Jarvis said that hiring minimum numbers of neurodiverse workers would produce benefits that went far beyond council.
“Often neurodiverse people are extremely focussed and highly skilled in mathematical or data analysis in ways that can be harnessed to improve service delivery, yet they are performing menial jobs or on social security benefits,” said Clr. Jarvis.
WithYouWithMe, a company founded by Australian veterans to solve veteran employment problem, has offered neurodiverse students in the Eastern Suburbs, its high-value, self-paced courses at no cost.
“We want to do this because we understand people who feel isolated and challenged in this world, because that’s exactly how our defence personnel feel when they return home after serving overseas,” said CEO and founder Tom Moore.
“And, it’s the right thing to do.”
WYWM is now the fastest growing digital skills company in APAC with large contracts in Australia, the US and Canada. WYWM courses are normally valued at around $5,000.
“We will look to help everyone who completes our course find a job,” said Moore.
A recent report by RMIT demonstrates that Australia needs 156,000 new technology workers to keep pace with the rapid digital transformation.
Waverley Councillor Angela Burrill said that she and fellow Councillor Sally Betts would fight for Waverley Council to hire skilled autistic workers.
“This is amazing generosity on the part of WithYouWithMe and typical of our veterans who are willing to fight for us and still want to give more,” Clr. Burrill said. “Waverley Council can only benefit from this plan.”
The idea to skill high-functioning neurodiverse grew out of the Federal Select Committee Hearing into Autism, with two federal government departments now poised to hire hundreds of specialist autistic workers.
Committee Chairwoman NSW Senator Hollie Hughes said that she was delighted that the City of Sydney and Eastern Suburbs Candidates and councillors recognised the unique abilities of those on the spectrum.
“This is the time for those on the spectrum in the City of Sydney, Woollahra, Randwick or Waverley areas to pick up valuable skills for free,” said Senator Hughes. “I can’t imagine why we wouldn’t see bi-partisan support for this move.
Tom Moore said that the company’s own experience with neurodiverse workers had highlighted their untapped potential.
All levels of government and the commercial sector are missing out,” said Moore.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without our people; and their diversity of thought has been one of the biggest contributors to our rapid growth and success.”
WYWM will place successful neurodiverse graduates into entry-level tech jobs where they can work from home, or an appropriate office, depending on their needs.