Candidate Story

Sean

“I think being able to show my skills in a less formal, more relaxed manner helps the hiring managers make better decisions as to who to hire. I for one have great difficulty in describing my talents, but I am quite adept at showing them. Standard recruitment processes have me telling my skills, Specialisterne has me demonstrating them.”

Sean McPherson

Data Analyst, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Sky is the limit for Sean

Meet Sean from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning where he has been working as a data analyst for over a year. Through his supportive workplace, and a love of his job, he now has the confidence and means to be independent. He dreams one day of getting into space science, and also having a family of his own.

When did you receive your diagnosis?

I was diagnosed in 2015 at the age of 25.

What impact did your diagnosis have on you?

My diagnosis had quite a profound impact upon me. Once I knew why I was the way I was, I could begin my years long self-improvement voyage. I could finally overcome internal barriers that prevented me from doing so much because I could recognise them.

What was your plan for your work and career when you were at school?

When I was in school so many years ago, my plans were to do something related to physics/mathematics. These were my favourite subjects. I found myself drawn to the wonders of space and thought studying space would be cool.

What did you do when you left school?

When I left school, I went to University to study science. I decided to specialise in space science. The subjects that I needed to do were fascinating and I ended up learning about quantum theory and relativity. Sadly, I was unable to complete these studies due to being undiagnosed and having the subjects for my specialisation cancelled before I could complete them.

“It is extremely important for employers to offer alternative recruitment pathways. Had I gone through the standard interview process I would likely not have the job I currently have.”

Did you work in any jobs that you weren’t suited to? How did this affect you?

I once had a short run working at a McDonalds. I was given little orientation and was put on the front counter dealing with customers. Soon (and without training) I was put on drive thru. I never really got to know any of the other staff working there and as such felt isolated. This eventually led up to me becoming more upset every time I went, resulting in me having to leave.

Why did you apply for the Specialisterne programs? (RISE @ Dept of Health and Human Services, and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – Digital Cadastre Modernisation)
I applied for the original program after seeing that I would be given the chance to show my skills in a program that seemed dedicated in getting people like me meaningful employment. I went for the second program because it would get into a field of work that was much better suited to my skillset. Having had a good experience the first time around and seeing the second program was much shorter (which was a good thing as I had adjusted to working by then), is what convinced me to go for the second program.

How did you find the Specialisterne recruitment process?
I find the Specialisterne program to be a great way of getting hands on with the actual work. And getting to meet some of the people I’ll be working with and the supervisors/managers, really helps me know beforehand if I’ll be suitable for the job.

How is it different to other recruitment processes you’ve been through?
I think being able to show my skills in a less formal, more relaxed manner helps the hiring managers make better decisions as to who to hire. I for one have great difficulty in describing my talents, but I am quite adept at showing them. Standard recruitment processes have me telling my skills, Specialisterne has me demonstrating them.

What have you gained from this process?
One thing I have gained from going through this process is a greater awareness of how prohibitive the standard recruitment process is, and not just for autistic people.

How beneficial was the support from Specialisterne during the program?
The support I have received from Specialisterne has been quite beneficial. They were able to get me some workplace adjustments that catered to my sensory sensitivities. Namely to not put me too close to exterior windows. I have also benefitted from getting support in keeping personal issues from impacting my ability to work. The support there has kept me working during times of personal hardship, which I think has been invaluable in ensuring that I not only continue to work but grow.

How important is it for employers to offer alternative recruitment pathways?
It is extremely important for employers to offer alternative recruitment pathways. Had I gone through the standard interview process I would likely not have the job I currently have.

Was the involvement of the employer in the process helpful?
Having the employer involved in the process is helpful. Getting to know the people who are employing me lets me know if they are people who I can work with. I can better judge if they are willing to work with me to maximise the skills that I bring.

“I feel as though my employer really understands me and what I need to work. This makes me feel as though I can take on more/different tasks. It gives me the confidence to act more autonomously on tasks that I feel will provide good outcomes for the project I am working on. I also feel that because of the support and understanding that I can voice my opinions.”

What role are you working in now?
I am more or less working in the same role I was hired in for the second program I partook in. However, the exact tasks have expanded. I have taken on significantly more tasks and am now involved in higher level meetings as my knowledge of the job has elevated to the point of warranting me being involved in those meetings.

Do you feel supported & understood by your employer? How does this make you feel?
I feel as though my employer really understands me and what I need to work. This makes me feel as though I can take on more/different tasks. It gives me the confidence to act more autonomously on tasks that I feel will provide good outcomes for the project I am working on. I also feel that because of the support and understanding that I can voice my opinions.

How has having this role impacted other areas of your life?
Having my current role has also greatly improved other areas of my life. Because of the people I have met and the stability of my work, I have become more independent. I have purchased my own home and have become far more confident going out to socialise (before the pandemic).

What are you able to do now that you couldn’t do before?
One thing I am able to do now that I couldn’t do before is be comfortable in moderate to large social gatherings. I can attend social events with strangers and not be worn down or have the anxiety I used to have. I am now also able to ask for different/more work without running through an anxiety cycle beforehand.

Do you have further career aspirations?
I would like to at some stage finish my undergrad science degree and my dream would be to work as a space scientist. As for right now though I think finding some more permanent work in something like what I currently do would be fine. I would like to get a permanent role to have the stability to go for my dream of shifting over to studying the wonders of space.

What are your dreams for the future?
Other than the whole space science dream, one dream I do have that is not related to work aspirations, is to meet someone and have a family.

Sean McPherson

Data Analyst

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

Check out some of our other candidate stories below

 

Ashley

“Before doing this program, I was reeling from a job that left me feeling broken and self-critical, feeling like I wasn't deserving or good enough to find work, especially work which was stable and accommodating.”Specialisterne's NSW PSC Tailored Talent program not...

Sean

“I think being able to show my skills in a less formal, more relaxed manner helps the hiring managers make better decisions as to who to hire. I for one have great difficulty in describing my talents, but I am quite adept at showing them. Standard recruitment...

Cameron

"I’ve struggled with a bit of imposter syndrome in the past, but after the thorough training and assessment program, I really felt I could demonstrate who I am and what I could do. I don’t feel as though I have to try and prove myself, I’m ready to just get in and...

Annaliese

"When I found out about Specialisterne, I was so relieved because I knew their program would give me a chance at employment without worrying how or when I would disclose my autism to my employer, and whether they would provide support for my sensory needs and...

Michael

"I found it was a very interesting experience getting to meet others who were in similar positions to me, struggling looking for work, many of whom also went to the same university as me, and interestingly some of whom I even recognised from my own degree courses."I...

Check out some of our current opportunities below 

Data Analyst: Sydney, NSW

We are excited to partner with Transport for NSW in their search for a Data Analyst from our community of autistic candidates.

The Data Analyst will be responsible for achieving and maintaining high standards of service delivery in liaison with clients and team members, managing time and prioritising issues, and dealing with work peaks and pressures.

The role requires a good level of attention to detail but has very strong support around it where the team member can seek assistance.

The role will also involve tasks that are repetitive and follow routines.
While the role requires good knowledge of working with data and analytics, regular training will be provided to become familiar with our processes and systems.

Reporting Officer: Sydney, NSW

We are excited to partner with Transport for NSW in their search for a Reporting Officer from our community of autistic candidates.

The role generates and implements effective and informative reports to clearly demonstrate business performance outcomes, and stakeholder and customer benefits relating to a number of social procurement policies. The role also provides high level administrative and communications support to contribute toward the effective operation of the social procurement and industry development team, and alignment to the wider Sydney Metro Workforce Development & Industry Participation strategy.

The Reporting Officer will be responsible for the effective reporting and using the performance management tool to ensure the successful monitoring of workforce development and industry participation targets.

APS4-6 Analyst Officer: Melbourne, VIC

We are excited to partner with Services Australia in their Aurora Neurodiversity Program, for an Analyst Officer from within our community of talented autistic candidates.

The Requirements Management team is responsible for assisting the project’s delivery teams to define requirements for software development, ensure the project’s compliance to the agency’s requirements frameworks, and provide general analyst support for project delivery. They work under the general direction of senior staff and in multi-disciplinary delivery teams.

The Analyst Officer works across a range of business areas and provide support to delivery teams by assisting in collecting, designing, analysing and reporting information. They analyse datasets with a variety of tools to research and solve organisational issues and identify trends and insights in support of organisational outcomes.

APS5 Project Officer (EPO): Melbourne, VIC

We are excited to partner with Services Australia in their Aurora Neurodiversity Program, for a Project Officer from within our community of talented autistic candidates.

The Enterprise Project Office (EPO) enables the coordination of the agency’s portfolio of registered programmes and projects. The EPO manages the agency’s Portfolio, Programme and Project Management (P3M) Framework and practices and provides support for registered programmes and projects. The EPO also provides portfolio reporting and analysis to strategic committees.

You will be an integral component of the Reporting team working to support the development of Executive reporting products. This is an exciting time to be coming on board as we take steps to fundamentally rethink P3M reporting. This role will offer a wide variety of work which is both challenging and fulfilling, opening up a multitude of opportunities for the right person.

Project Coordinator: Sydney, NSW

We are excited to partner with Transport for NSW in their search for a Project Coordinator from our community of autistic candidates.

The Project Coordinator will work collaboratively with project teams and coordinates the development of project related information for the efficient and on-time delivery of projects.

The role performs project management coordination and support activities to contribute to the development and delivery of a range of projects in line with established objectives.

APS4 Associate Rules Developer (x2 roles): Melbourne, VIC

We are excited to partner with Services Australia in their Aurora Neurodiversity Program, for an Associate Rules Developer from within our community of talented autistic candidates.

Services Australia are transforming the way government delivers welfare services to Australians, taking advantage of new and emerging technology to provide services that are simple to use and targeted to customer needs.

he Rules Developer team is responsible for assisting the project’s delivery team to analyse, develop, enhance, integrate, review, test, maintain, and document new entitlements rules in support of business and technical requirements.

APS4 Intelligence Support Officer (x2 roles): Melbourne, VIC

We are excited to partner with Services Australia in their Aurora Neurodiversity Program, for Intelligence Support Officers from within our community of talented autistic candidates.

The Intelligence and Investigations Branch is primarily involved in detecting and investigating cases of fraud relating to Medicare, Child Support and welfare programs. The Real Time Analysis team’s primary focus is on preventing fraud and protect the Australian public by providing a timely, and effective pre-payment analysis functionality. To do this we undertake near real-time checks on claims before they are paid to determine if the claim involves fraud.

One of the goals of the Real Time Analysis team is to act as an APS4 entry point for Intelligence Analysts into the branch, providing a development pathway for staff to progress to other Intelligence teams. The team is fun with plenty of tasks for you to learn and try new things. Come along and join us!

Project Development Officer: Parramatta, NSW

We are excited to partner with Transport for NSW in their search for a Project Development Officer from our community of autistic candidates.

The role is responsible for supporting the early development of road and bridge infrastructure projects through to completion of the detailed concept design and environmental approval.

The Project Development Officer is responsible for working effectively within large project teams to support project development staff in achieving optimum project outcomes.

Aurora Neurodiversity Program

Aurora Neurodiversity Program 3 – 2022 (x8 roles): Melbourne-Dandenong, VIC

Specialisterne Australia is excited to be partnering with Services Australia (the agency) to deliver the Aurora Neurodiversity Program 2022. We are looking to recruit individuals interested in cyber security, test engineer, technical engineer, solutions design and developer roles from our community of talented autistic candidates.

The agency recognises every story counts. Each individual brings their own range of skills and perspectives to the workplace.

The agency values inclusion and diversity and supports staff to reach their full potential.

Transport for NSW Tailored Talent Program 2022

Specialisterne Australia is delighted to be partnering again with Transport for NSW to deliver the Transport for NSW Tailored Talent Program 2022!

Through this program we are looking to recruit individuals interested in the areas of data analysis, systems engineering, project management and administration from our community of autistic candidates.

Project Manager: Macquarie Park, NSW

We are excited to partner with Transport for NSW in their search for a Project Manager from our community of autistic candidates.

The role leads and delivers high level project support to ensure the efficient functioning of the senior executive management and their respective Division. This includes managing all cross-functional issues affecting the group such as safety, financial, project processes, reporting, strategic planning and organisational improvement.

The Project Manager will guide and co-ordinate the project planning process for the Division, ensuring alignment with corporate strategies and initiatives.

APS5 Project Officer (DIP): Dandenong, VIC

We are excited to partner with Services Australia in their Aurora Neurodiversity Program, for a Project Officer from within our community of talented autistic candidates.

The Debt and Integrity projects (DIP) Division is responsible for delivering a transformation agenda that includes supporting to modernise our business and services. Our transformation agenda emphasises the user experience of welfare customers and our staff, embracing digital and data opportunities, and investing in our people.

The Debt and Integrity projects (DIP) Division has an exciting opportunity in the Customer Solutions and Co-Design (CSCD) team for a project officer.

Systems Engineer – Entry Level (Grade 7): Macquarie Park, NSW

We are excited to partner with Transport for NSW in their search for a Systems Engineer – Entry Level from our community of autistic candidates.

The primary purpose of the role is to support projects in the tailoring and implementation of Systems Engineering methodologies to ensure business needs are articulated clearly and that solutions developed meet functional, engineering and safety standards.

The Systems Engineer – Entry Level will develop a sound understanding of the breadth and complexities of the project activities across Technical Services and the operating environment. They will work cooperatively and proactively with organisations interfacing with the project and build solid working relationships and partnerships.

APS5 Data Analyst: Dandenong, VIC

We are excited to partner with Services Australia in their Aurora Neurodiversity Program, for a Data Analyst from within our community of talented autistic candidates.

You will be working in a team who is responsible for the collection, analysis and reporting data for an entire Division.

The Data Analyst understands customer’s data requirements and can analyse matching scenarios within the data management tools. They support the control of data management processes and perform administrative, technical, and customising tasks in the data environment.

As an integral part of a data analytics team, you will be involved across several projects, with duties ranging from data collation, analytics, stakeholder management, data visualisation, to provide support to initiative leads across the Debt and Integrity Projects Division.

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