Autotech Academy on fostering neurodiversity in the automotive industry

Autotech Academy on fostering neurodiversity in the automotive industry

This article was originally published on 16 May 2024

In a world where diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but bottom-line imperatives, and seven out of ten people today identify as neurodiverse, embracing neurodiversity in the automotive industry and creating a workspace that welcomes all minds is a necessity. Read on to discover how Autotech Academy is leading the charge in fostering neurodiversity and supporting young, newly qualified vehicle technicians.

Neurodiversity in the automotive industry

Recognising the rise in neurodiversity

Emblematic of the shift towards inclusivity, Autotech Academy is committed to not only supporting the transition of young, newly qualified vehicle technicians into the automotive aftermarket but also acknowledging neurodiversity and adding a level of support to help those with neurodiverse conditions into the industry.


Created to help newly qualified vehicle technicians get their foot on the automotive career ladder through a paid internship, Autotech Academy quickly recognised that, through the notable rise in people diagnosed with neurodiversity across all walks of life, they would likely see a growing contingent of young, skilled individuals preparing to enter the automotive workforce identifying with a spectrum of neurodiverse conditions.


Acknowledging this shift, Autotech Academy proactively undertook several measures to offer meaningful support to neurodiverse interns. From employing a team of young, approachable consultants of a similar age to interns, to undertaking specialist training, which would help them develop tools and strategies. A flexible working approach was also adopted enabling each consultant to be contacted after business hours when many interns could speak freely.

Navigating the transition from education to employment

The transition from education to employment is a critical phase for any young professionals, but perhaps more so for neurodivergent individuals. Acting as a buffer, Autotech Academy helps these interns navigate initial challenges, and works with employers to create a conducive space for the newly qualified to flourish and settle.


While enabling them to hone their technical skills through internships, the Academy team is also helping neurodivergent interns build essential soft skills crucial for integration into the professional world.


This support system is paving the way for a more inclusive and supportive work environment where neurodiverse talents can thrive and contribute uniquely to the innovation and growth of the automotive sector.


“Neurodivergent individuals are not defined by their conditions; quite the contrary, they bring a treasure trove of unique skills and perspectives,” comments James Mackay, Managing Director of Autotech Academy. “The automotive industry, with its intricate machinery and complex systems, is an ideal stage for these individuals to demonstrate their aptitude.


"The Autotech Academy team works hard to act as advocates, guiding the interns through the nuances of workplace culture and providing the necessary support and encouragement, often out of work hours.”

Debunking outdated perceptions

The latest IMI UK Automotive Vacancy Overview report estimates that the sector currently has about 23,000 vacancies and the gap between vacancies in automotive and all other UK sectors highlights the multitude of unique and ongoing challenges the industry faces.


While believing that part of the reason behind this ever-widening skills gap is a general misperception about the career opportunities and working conditions in the automotive sector, the IMI is setting out to debunk outdated perceptions and encourage the sector to embrace those with physical and non-visible disabilities which includes neurodiversity conditions.


In doing so the automotive sector is poised to become more dynamic, innovative, and reflective of the diverse talents that make up the workforce of the future.


“Our goal is to help create an atmosphere where every young person entering the industry, can thrive and contribute meaningfully to the industry, regardless of their circumstances,” James concludes.


For more information, visit Autotech Academy.

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