Young man smiling at camera

Autism is no barrier for Brisbane Dandelion recruit

Everyone knows applying for a job can be a tedious and tough task. But for 20-year-old Morgan, who is on the autism spectrum, just getting a look-in proved to be even more difficult.

That is until his mother heard about the Dandelion Programme – a collaboration between the Department of Human Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Specialisterne which gives young people with ASD, who have specialist skills and abilities, access to a career in the IT sector.

“My mum found out about the role and I thought it was a great opportunity, but didn’t think I would get the job,” Morgan said.    “I didn’t really understand the nature of the role but thought I would give it a go. I feel like I did pretty well in the workshop and when I got through to the assessment round, I actually looked forward to it each day. By the end of the assessment, I knew I wanted the job.”

This dream turned into a reality in September last year, when Morgan became one of the latest Dandelion recruits to start in Brisbane.

“It makes me more motivated now that I have a job and I look forward to coming to work. It’s not a stressful environment because we have staff to support us and you know that you are not under pressure to ‘fit in’. “Working with other people on the spectrum is good because I find them relatable. It would be a different playing field if no one else was on the spectrum but here we ‘get’ each other.”

After finishing school in 2012, Morgan’s interest in IT continued to develop and he decided to undertake an online course in computer programming.

“School was not that great because the system is not designed for students on the autism spectrum,” Morgan said. “I was good at math and thought I’d like to work in IT or biology when I finished, but I knew I didn’t want to go to university because it would still present the same challenges as school.

Morgan plans to move into developing in the future, with the dream of one day working in mobile app development.

“I hope to get work experience and build a professional profile so that I can progress my career in IT. I also want to learn about working in an office and get better at asking for help – asking for help is difficult for me normally.”

When asked what achievement he is most proud of, Morgan says it’s his knowledge.

“I can retain information that I am interested in. I like helping people – if someone asked me for something, I would try and help them out. It’s hard to have achievements if you don’t have any goals.”