According to the report published by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), there are about 157,000 people of working age living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Australia and this number is increasing. Many struggle to transition successfully from school into work or further study because of social or communication issues or due to difficulties managing changes in routine or structure.
In recognition of the powerful contribution people with autism can make to society, especially due to distinctive skills that fit roles which require great concentration and attention to detail (such as software testing), Bankwest partnered with the Curtin University Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) and the Australian Computer Society (ACS) - the professional association for Australia's ICT sector - to create Australia’s first technology scholarship program for autistic students.
Working with these industry experts, Bankwest has welcomed new recruits as undergraduate software testers, within the boundaries of this structured, highly-supportive program. Michael New, who participated in the program in 2016 and was then offered a permanent role in our graduate program, was among the first to benefit, and offered this testimonial:
“When I first joined Bankwest I was concerned about the stereotypes and stigma associated with autism. My fears were quickly put to rest when I saw just how awesome each and every one of our colleagues are. I love doing what I do as I have an eye for details and don’t feel afraid to challenge decisions and processes.”