You can hear the pride in Cathryn Masters’ voice when she talks about her involvement in the Dandelion Programme.
“What we are doing here is shifting the paradigm of attitudes surrounding employing people on the autism spectrum and that is incredible,” she said.
The Dandelion Programme is a partnership between the Department of Human Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Danish organisation, Specialisterne. It involves a three year traineeship designed to harness the unique characteristics and talents of people on the autism spectrum.
Cathryn is an Autism Spectrum Consultant with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and provides specialist support to the Dandelion trainees and trainers, assisting them with working in the Department of Human Services environment.
She also provides Autism Awareness training to staff, and makes sure any difficulties are addressed and the trainees are supported successfully in their work.
“I’ve worked with people on the autism spectrum for the past 21 years, specifically with adults and in employment settings,” Cathryn explained.
“The Dandelion Programme is so incredibly innovative and life-changing. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to share my knowledge and skills relating to Autism with the Department of Human Services and Hewlett Packard Enterprise staff.”
Information Technology testing has proven to be the perfect training ground and Cathryn is happy to report that the trainees are thriving, both in and out of the office.
“Some of the team have purchased their first home, taken their first ever holiday overseas, some have found love and others are socialising more now than they ever have before.”
She attributes a lot of this success to the support from the staff and their willingness to accept neurodiversity in the workplace.
These positive results give Cathryn very high hopes for the programme’s future.
“My hope is that the Dandelion Programme grows on a global scale. My goal is to change the attitudes of society and remove any negative stigma or stereotypes attached to Autism and disability.”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us to do the best we can and show the world how everyone, no matter if they have a diagnosis of Autism or not, have strengths and skills which are functional and can be used in the workplace,” she said.
Watch to find out more about Cathryn’s important role with the Dandelion Programme:
- Enquiries about the Dandelion Programme can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org