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Microsoft to launch scheme hiring people with autism

MICROSOFT HAVE announced that they will be creating a pilot scheme aimed at increasing the number of adults with autism working in full-time roles.

The initiative is set to begin by offering 10 places based at its Redmond headquarters in Washington D.C.

Senior executive Mary Ellen Smith, who herself has a 19-year-old autistic son, said: "People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft."

Announcing the new scheme in blog post, Smith added: "Each individual is different, some have an amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code."

Presently in the UK, just 15 per cent of adults with autism are in full-time employment according to the National Autistic Society (NAS).

Sarah Lambert, who heads the organisation’s policy department, applauded Microsoft saying: "It's encouraging to see a global company like Microsoft recognise the untapped potential of adults with autism. Many may have strengths such as accuracy, a good eye for detail and reliability, which can benefit all sorts of businesses, not just the technology industry.”

The scheme will be a collaborative effort between both Microsoft and Specialist recruitment firm, Specialisterne who work IT companies, and in other sectors, to promote the skills of people with autism for specific vacancies.

The NAS welcomed the move but said that other firms should do more to tap into the skills offered by many people with autism including revaluating the recruitment process.

"Simple adjustments, like making job interviews more accessible and providing support to help those in work understand the 'unwritten rules' of the workplace can unlock the potential of a whole section of society," said a representative for the organisation.

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