With 1 in 7 people thought to show some form of neurodivergence worldwide – and an estimated 820,000 neurodiverse engineers working in the UK alone – we’re proud to have launched a ground-breaking new programme of neurodiversity support for our engineering community, with funding from Neptune Energy.
Our new support programme is designed to empower neurodiverse engineering professionals, students and apprentices to achieve their full potential, so that they can thrive in both their career and personal lives.
It includes a ‘Differently Wired Hub’, our new online resource offering expert advice, information and content on a variety of neurodiverse conditions – such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia.
We can also offer direct support for engineering students and apprentices, including access to a formal diagnosis, counselling support to help them understand their feelings about their diagnosis, and financial grants to fund assistive equipment or help with day to day living costs.
Engineering employers will also be able to access information and guidance to help them empower their neurodiverse colleagues to perform at their best, and support the success of their business.
We decided to develop the programme for our community due to the upswing in calls for neurodiversity support we’ve seen in recent times, with research showing a greater incidence of neurodiversity among engineers more broadly.
This pointed to an opportunity to further expand our support for the engineering community, in a way which would make a significant impact on the entire industry.
Our CEO, Jane Petit commented:
“We’re proud to be launching this innovative programme today to recognise, celebrate and support the contributions that neurodiverse people bring to the engineering community.
“Every day, many neurodiverse engineers face challenges and barriers which prevent them from accessing the opportunities that neurotypical people take for granted. In particular, we know that this leads significant numbers of students and apprentices in our sector to drop out of their courses – which has a knock-on effect for the entire engineering workforce.
“By providing this programme of support for both established and aspiring engineers, we hope to build a world where everyone in the industry is empowered to make the most of their unique talents and capabilities. We’d like to thank Neptune Energy for funding the development of the programme, and helping us deliver this much-needed support for the engineering community.”
More recent research has shown that if you receive a diagnosis for autism over the age of 21, you’re nearly three times as likely to suffer from psychiatric related illnesses in later life.
And with much established neurodiversity support depending on a diagnosis – which is often difficult to access due to extensive waiting times, cost and a lack of awareness about neurodiverse conditions – you’ll be able to see why the programme, combined with our wider support offering, will play a key role in enhancing the health and wellbeing of the engineering community.
Stuart Redgard, one of our neurodivergent engineer ambassadors for the programme, said:
“Having received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in May 2022 at the age of 55, I’ve often felt very alone during my neurodiversity journey. But knowing that I now have people I can turn to and who won’t judge me has made a world of difference.
“That’s why this new support from Foothold gives me hope for neurodiverse engineers like me to be empowered to engineer their way, and take advantage of the same opportunities as neurotypical community members – no matter what stage they’re at in their career.”
And Neptune Energy’s CEO, Pete Jones, said:
“It has been our privilege to work with Foothold in recent years, culminating with the launch of the Differently Wired Hub. This will help create more opportunities for neurodiverse engineers to demonstrate to employers the unique strengths and skills that they possess.
“Our support for Foothold also mirrors our own commitment to making equality, diversity and inclusion core to our business because we want Neptune to be a place that welcomes, respects and values everyone.”
Our Differently Wired Hub is freely available for anyone in the engineering community, whether you have been diagnosed, support a neurodivergent individual, or simply want to learn more about neurodiversity.
You can join the hub for free here.
If you are an engineering student or apprentice and believe you may be neurodivergent, you’ll need to apply to access our tailored support. Find out more here.