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Scotland launches neurodivergence support scheme in UK first

Scotland will become the first in the UK to put in place a scheme to support neurodivergent workers (Joe Giddens/PA)
Scotland will become the first in the UK to put in place a scheme to support neurodivergent workers (Joe Giddens/PA)

The UK’s first programme to support workers who are neurodivergent has been launched in Scotland.

Neurodiversity charity Salvesen Mindroom Centre has launched its Neuroinclusion At Work Programme, backed by the Scottish Government with the aim of helping those with neurodivergence such as autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

The scheme is hoping to reach one million workers by 2026 and will support employers to become more aware, informed and empowered to take action to support individuals within their workplace.

It is among 13 projects supported by the Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund, which aims to address long-standing barriers in the labour market to make Scotland a Fair Work Nation.

The fund, administered by Advice Direct Scotland, was set up by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to ensure that everyone – irrespective of disability, gender, age or race – can fulfil their potential and improve Scotland’s economic performance as a result.

Commercial law firm Burness Paull and global investment manager Martin Currie will be among the first to partner on the programme.

It is hoped training will help break down workplace barriers neurodivergent people often face.

Alan Thornburrow, CEO of Salvesen Mindroom Centre, said: “Employers that recognise, embrace and support neurodiversity are poised to attract and retain the best employees. That’s why we’ve introduced the UK’s first Neuroinclusion At Work programme to help forward-thinking employers support and develop a neurodiverse workforce.

“We know that 15-20% of the global population are neurodivergent, when seen in a workplace context we think there are significant opportunity to enable neurodivergent employee to thrive and for employers to build fully inclusive teams.

“Over the next few months, we’ll be bringing more partners into the programme. If diversity is important in your workplace, this could be the way to unlock talent and support your team.

“This is undoubtedly the next step on the way to achieving equity in the workplace. I would urge employers with interest in this space to work with us as we break new ground.”

Emma Smith, inclusion & wellbeing manager at Burness Paull, said: “Respect & inclusion and employee wellbeing are at the heart of our business. We believe in promoting a workplace culture where we recognise everyone is an individual and where all our people can succeed.

“As part of our work to attract and retain the best talent in the legal sector, we’ve embedded this in everything we do.

“We’re committed to continuing on our journey to ensure equal opportunity for all, and neuroinclusion is a natural next step for us.

“We’re proud to be the first organisation to partner with Salvesen Mindroom Centre’s Neuroinclusion At Work programme and are really looking forward to working with the team to drive forward change.”