Meet Allan… our hardworking, dedicated, ‘can fix almost anything’ ICT Support Coordinator. A lover of rock music and happiest when he is with his family and Max, his adorable black Cockapoo, Allan is also on the Autistic Spectrum.
Autism is often misunderstood, even though it affects about 700,000 people in the UK. According to the National Autistic Society, only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in paid work. This just isn’t good enough and it is important that we spread awareness of the fantastic attributes adults with autism bring to the workplace and, given the right support, how they can flourish and build a successful career.
Allan joined the SAM team on the 24th May 2016 after seeing a job vacancy within the ICT department on NI Job Finder. He beat off stiff competition during two successful interviews and was offered the role of ICT Support Coordinator within a busy team. His day-to-day role involves providing support to SAM team members via the help desk, ensuring company systems are running efficiently, assisting with projects and developing bespoke information systems.
Allan has had an interest in ICT since he was in school. When asked what he loves most about his job, he responded, “Being in ICT support, helping people and repairing and setting up computers.” As with any role, he also faces some challenges, “I sometimes find it challenging when I discover new faults and things that I haven’t done before, but I do ask plenty of questions so that I understand what is needed to complete the job.”
Specialisterne NI, a specialist consultancy that recruits and supports talented people with Autism, Aspergers, or communication difference in the workplace, offered Allan practical support as he searched for a job, and they continue to do so. Allan speaks highly of them, “They helped me to find jobs to apply for, to complete application forms, to tidy up my CV and to practice interview questions. They also took me through what is needed in the workplace and helped me to think of questions that I might want to ask. They keep in touch to see how I am getting on in SAM and they also offer training for companies that have hired people who are on the Autistic Spectrum.”
Tim Patton, ICT Director at SAM, leads Allan’s team: “It is a great pleasure to work with Allan on a daily basis. Not only is he a very skilled ICT technician, he is also dependable, reliable and just a great guy with a wonderful demeanour. His quiet style belies a tenacious nature – problems won’t beat him. He is our bright spark and a big part of team SAM.”
“[Allan’s] quiet style belies a tenacious nature – problems won’t beat him. He is our bright spark and a big part of team SAM.”
On World Autism Awareness Day, we wanted to highlight the unique abilities people with autism bring to the workplace. Allan is an integral member of our team and an asset to our company. Autism should not create barriers for employment – we need to look beyond any unnecessary “labels” and embrace the fact that everyone is different, and this diversity creates a more innovative, creative and higher performing team.