26 September 2023

VPSC stands up for neurodiverse employees

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The Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) is encouraging Agencies to create positive workplace experiences for their neurodiverse employees, opening access to more training and counselling.

Announcing the neurodiverse confidence services, VPSC said neurodiversity was an umbrella term referring to normal variations in how different people think and interact in their daily life and covered Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD); Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD); schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder; dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia; Tourette syndrome; speech disorders; and intellectual disability.

The Commission said five service providers had been selected for employers to support neurodiverse employees in the public sector better.

“These services will help the public sector develop neurodiverse-confident managers and teams and assist neurodiverse employees to have a positive experience at work,” VPSC said.

“If you are a public sector employee and identify as neurodiverse, you can access neurodiverse confident services,” it said.

“This includes if you are employed on a fixed term contract, secondment or casual basis.”

VPSC said public sector people managers looking to uplift their team’s awareness on neurodiversity and support their neurodiverse employees, could also take advantage of the training services.

It said the approved service providers had tailored offerings for people managers, neurodiverse employees and their teams to build their understanding and confidence about neurodiversity.

The Commission said the services covered workplace enablement training for neurotypical line-managers, colleagues, and teams on neurodiversity awareness, including: Inclusive recruitment; Manager and team readiness training; Autism and inclusive employment; Autism and anxiety at work; and Mentoring opportunities.

It said counselling was also available to help neurodiverse employees to navigate: Challenging workplace situations; Day-to-day work activities; Communicating reasonable workplace adjustment requirements; Career development opportunities; and Recruitment processes.

“These services are funded by your employer,” VPSC said.

“A manager or Diversity and Inclusion representative will manage any financial approval processes, while keeping your information completely confidential,” it said.

“Counselling sessions and workplace enablement training are available online or on-site across the State.”

VPSC said the panel of service providers was approved for use now, through Buying for Victoria.

Further information on the neurodiverse confident services can be accessed at this PS News link.

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The last time I applied to a job with Victorian government, the recruiters running their ‘disability pathway’ felt that throwing a tantrum was more professional than allowing an autistic applicant an accessible alternative to psychometric testing.

My advice to any autistic Victorian interested in a public sector career is to research APS vacancies available under Recruitability. Adjustments I’ve been offered under this scheme include:
– having psychometric barriers, like Sova Assessment, replaced with written work samples that are genuinely relevant to the job,
– answering questions from video interviews over email,
– and being shown interview questions before the final interview.

It never feels like I have to fight APS recruiters for accessibility. And unlike the Victorian government, who can’t advertise a vacancy without congratulating themselves about diversity, they’ve interviewed me.

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