Grant-fuelled expansion for social enterprise Auticon whose IT consultants are all autistic
Auticon, an IT consultancy and social enterprise whose consultants are all autistic, is expanding in Edinburgh after receiving a grant from Scottish Enterprise.
The firm was founded in Berlin in 2011 and now has 18 offices worldwide, including one in the Scottish capital that launched in 2019. The organisation now has ambitious plans, such as growing its office in the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre.
With the help of the Scottish Enterprise grant, Auticon is recruiting 12 technology/data specialists with autism, together with three experienced coaches/advisors to support the team over the next two years.
Emma Walker, regional manager at Auticon, said: “Some companies are now recognising that hiring neurodiverse talent leads to diversity of thought within teams that could provide a competitive edge, through improved problem-solving, creativity and innovation.
"There is a major skills shortage in tech, so organisations need to think differently to gain access to the people with the talent they are looking for. Auticon is perfectly placed to provide the support organisations need to open up access to the wealth of neurodiverse talent in Scotland – and beyond.
"Specifically, we help organisations to overcome common issues that can create barriers for autistic adults, from traditional recruitment processes, through to working environments.
“At the moment we are working with a number of financial services companies with growth plans. Our expansion was made possible by Scottish Enterprise and will allow more highly skilled autistic adults to have the opportunity to find meaningful employment with Scottish businesses.”
Ian Blewett, head of digital economy at Scottish Enterprise, said diversity is key for an inclusive, successful Scottish economy. “This is a key priority for Scottish Enterprise as highlighted by the breadth and depth of companies we have supported in Scotland such as Auticon, which is driving greater diversity across the data industry.
“Auticon’s approach to providing holistic support and raising awareness of autism is commendable, and Scottish Enterprise is proud to have supported the expansion of its worldwide workforce in Edinburgh – and not just create jobs, but provide careers, for people to thrive.”
Auticon cites data from the Office for National Statistics showing that just 22 per cent of autistic people in the UK are in full-time employment. It also says that according to figures from the National Autistic Society there are around 56,000 autistic people in Scotland, with 60 per cent of employers worried about getting support for autistic employees wrong and unaware of how to access information.
The social enterprise also highlights the case of Chris, a new recruit in Edinburgh, who said: “It is wonderful working for a company that acts as my advocate. They spend a lot of time and effort making sure that a role is right for me before I get to meet the company.”
Additionally, Auticon says it is passionate about helping organisations become more inclusive and accepting of neurodivergent conditions. Last year, it received funding from the Scottish Government to recruit an autism adviser who has provided training to 24 organisations across Scotland.