Workplace sessions to promote understanding of neurodiversity

James Montgomery (37752154)

A SERIES of inclusive training sessions have been held to spark conversations about neurodiversity in the workplace and help “get more people through the door”.

Crestbridge worked with various charities across the UK and Channel Islands to host a series of training sessions for its employees, to mark Neurodiversity Celebration Week.

These sessions were designed to educate their employees on various topics related to neurodiversity, which is an umbrella term for many conditions, including autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and OCD.

The term describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world in many ways, highlighting that there is no one “right” way of thinking, learning or behaving.

Attendees learned about reasonable adjustments in the workplace – including providing quieter spaces, noise-cancelling headphones and flexible working arrangements – and heard first-hand accounts from neurodiverse people.

James Montgomery, Crestbridge’s assistant manager of learning and development, organised the sessions.

Mr Montgomery, who was diagnosed with autism 25 years ago, spoke about the importance of these sessions in promoting understanding and inclusivity in the workplace.

He said: “From a personal point of view, I’ve always had a strong passion in trying to encourage people to have a conversation about neurodiversity.

“The latest stats show that between 15 and 20% of the UK population are neurodivergent. So it’s a no-brainer for companies to be supportive of everyone.

“There’s only about 30% of the autistic population in the UK who are in employment at the moment, so to me, that means there’s still some way to go in terms of understanding.

“It is all about understanding what support means for each person and about trying to see what more we can do to get more people through the door.”

He added: “We’ve had so many leaders and managers attending this event, who will feel more comfortable to talk about neurodiversity and to have a conversation that helps remove the stigma. That’s going to be great for the trainees, the next generation, and the juniors.”

Mr Montgomery said: “The Covid-19 pandemic flipped the script, forcing people to appreciate the value of personal space and autonomy in a way they may not have experienced before.

“Nine to five doesn’t work for everyone, not just from the neurodivergent point of view.

“By our company adopting hybrid working, it’s allowed so many other groups within the community to work as well, such single mums, for example.

“Suddenly, they’re not having to find childminders and they can drop their kids off at school. It takes the stress off.”

Sessions were delivered by Autism Jersey, Talk Dyslexia Channel Islands, ADHD Jersey, Tourettes Action, All Matters Neurodiversity Jersey and Jersey Employment Trust.

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