Autism@Work Forum: workforce diversity, employment programs

1 Oct 2017

The Autism@Work Forum, presented by Autism CRC and DXC.Technology, was held in September 2017 at the ICC Sydney.

With over 100 participants, the Autism@Work Forum was a great opportunity for attendees to meet with other like-minded organisations in Australia and around the world who are investing in workforce diversity and operating programs for autistic individuals.

The Autism@Work Forum was also an opportunity to hear the benefits, opportunities and lessons arising from the implementation of neurodiverse employment programs and the fast growing recognition of the benefits that neurodiversity in the workplace brings by way of innovation, efficiency and improved work processes.

The forum program included keynote presentations from Professor Susanne Bruyere, Director of the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University, and Ms Jeanette Purkis, autism employment advocate, writer and speaker, as well as presentations from a number of employers and industry speakers

After the Forum, an afternoon Autism@Work Employment Fair was held to discuss employment opportunities with autistic job seekers and their families. Over 70 autistic job seekers and their family and friends attended the employment fair with 11 organisations providing information on the day.

It was the first time such an event was held on this side of the Pacific – but it clearly should not be the last. The interest shown by attendees at both the Forum and the afternoon’s Employment Fair clearly demonstrate the interest and need for the continued development of employment programs that provide opportunity for, and realise the benefits of, neurodiversity in the workplace.

Autism CRC is committed to providing practical outputs from its programs so those on the autism spectrum can employ their strengths and interests, and employers can better engage this significantly untapped talent pool within our diverse society.

To receive further information on supporting neurodiversity employment programs in the coming months please email

Keynote presentations

Susanne Bruyere, Professor of Disability Studies & Director, Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, Cornell University WATCH NOW

Jeanette Purkis, Autism Employment Advocate, Writer and Speaker WATCH NOW

Current autism employment programs

Natalie Phong, Human Resources Business Partner, SAP WATCH NOW

Dr Robert van Barneveld, CEO & Managing Director, SunPork Group WATCH NOW

Matt Ormiston, Program Director, Enterprise Desktop Upgrade, ANZ Bank WATCH NOW

Michael Fieldhouse, Director, Emerging Businesses & Cyber Security and Dandelion Program Executive, DXC.Technology WATCH NOW

Developments in autism employment research

Dr Marita Falkmer, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Curtin University WATCH NOW

Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, OTARC Director, La Trobe University and Dr Darren Hedley, Research Fellow, La Trobe University  WATCH NOW

Employment and the NDIS

Rebecca Adam, National Disability Insurance Agency WATCH NOW