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

'Growing the power and potential of a neurodiverse workforce'

LACKING in confidence and struggling to see her next steps, Emma Elcoate began searching for support on her journey towards employment.

Having contacted Azure Charitable Enterprises, it was suggested that DiversityNE – an employability programme aimed at promoting the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce – may be a good fit.

DiversityNE is delivered in partnership by Azure and the North East Autism Society and provides tailored support to help those who face the biggest barriers to employment.

“DiversityNE supports people with learning disabilities and neurodiverse conditions on their path towards employment, and in-work support when clients get a job,” explained DiversityNE’s Employment Services Manager, Tracey Summerbell. 

It is really person centred - whatever an individual needs, that’s the support we will deliver.

Emma, from Seaton Burn, was not actively seeking work when she signed up to the programme, however she wanted to take positive steps towards paid employment.

The 31-year-old self-referred in February 2023 – and she hasn’t looked back since. 

“DiversityNE and Philip have helped me enormously in my preparation for work, tailoring my CV and Cover letter and supporting me with interview questions, answers and techniques,” Emma said.

Emma was assigned an employment adviser, Philip Hutchinson, who she met with once a week at a local venue. The location was chosen to ensure that Emma felt comfortable, and as time went on she began to push herself to travel to these appointments on her own. 

Philip helped Emma to create an initial action plan, which outlined the key areas that Emma felt she could benefit from additional support. These included: understanding own capacity, preparation for job search, career advice and confidence building.

As the weeks went on, Philip helped Emma to build a new CV which better promoted Emma’s skills and experience, as well as creating more tailored cover letters.  

And while Emma did not feel ready to apply for roles at this time, Philip worked with her to find suitable job vacancies and used these to practise Emma’s interview skills.

Philip said: “Emma was struggling to see the positives in her CV, we spent time making small subtle changes that altered the emphasis to being much more constructive and increase her self-belief.”

When Emma’s time on programme came to a close in August, she left with a much clearer idea of the vocational area she would like to pursue and developed the skills and confidence to job search, both with the support of her employment adviser and independently.

Reflecting on her time on DiversityNE, Emma said: “The service has given me the confidence boost I needed to get back into searching and applying for roles and training. I felt Philip had a lot of patience, was very supportive and made me feel comfortable.

“I would highly recommend the service to anyone in my position. Thank you DiversityNE.”

Find out about DiversityNE