DiversityNE is part-funded
by the European Social Fund and North of Tyne Combined Authority.

'Growing the power and potential of a neurodiverse workforce'

FOR Thomas Kindness, being out of work had taken a toll on his mental health and left him lacking in confidence. 

The 27-year-old was struggling to find work and feeling low when he was pointed in the direction of DiversityNE, an employment programme delivered in partnership by the North East Autism Society and Azure Charitable Enterprises.

It was the advice of a Universal Credit adviser that prompted Thomas to enrol on the programme, beginning in February 2023 – and in the six months since, his confidence has increased and he’s secured a job.

Employment Specialist Steve Brown worked with Thomas to rebuild his confidence and, through weekly meetings, worked on his CV and job search preparation.

“Steve helped me with many aspects of job searching,” Thomas said. “From creating my CV to helping to build my confidence in finding a job again.”

Thomas, from Newcastle, previously worked for Tesco Bank as a Customer Assist Representative, answering customer queries relating to their credit cards. 

“I had low confidence before starting the programme as I was going through depression and had anxiety,” he said. “The supportive nature of the programme helped me get back into employment.”

After working with Steve for a number of months, Thomas secured a 26-hour contract and started work as a receptionist/administrator at Azure Business Centre, in Newcastle, in August 2023.

“My new job has been going well and I have gotten used to all aspects of the job,” he said.

“On a typical day I man the front desk, liaise with staff and clients and handle phone calls while also doing general administrative tasks like invoices and building management.”

Steve said: “Thomas’s confidence was quite low when he started on DiversityNE. During our initial meetings we focused on updating his CV and improving his confidence by focusing on the wide range of skills and attributes developed from his previous employment roles.  

“It was a pleasure supporting Thomas on Diversity North East and I wish him every success for the future.”

Asked if he’d recommend the programme to other people in similar situations, Thomas said “definitely”.

“DiversityNE has helped me greatly in finding a job,” he added.