Allstate NI Partners With NOW Group to Deliver 12-Week Placements for People With Learning Difficulties and Autism

Published: April 19, 2022

Leading technology employer Allstate NI has partnered with the NOW Group to deliver digital sector work placements for individuals with learning difficulties and autism.

The NOW Group Digital Academy is a 12-week placement plan at Allstate NI's Contact Centre, which manages technical queries from Allstate employees around the world, that gives individuals with learning difficulties hands-on experience in the jobs of the future.

Allstate NI and Now Group member holding award signs.

The programme comes amid a wider overhaul of inclusion and diversity practices at the IT company as it seeks to ensure underrepresented members of society are both a part of the company and have a voice in all policies and decisions.

Allstate has partnered with Autism NI, Northern Ireland's main trainer and support charity, and was recognize with an Autism NI Impact Award for its commitment to autism awareness training. This recognizes the company's record in adjusting the environment and providing individualized customer service that assists people with autism, as well as creating a culture in which they feel safe disclosing an autism statement should they wish to.

Within the workforce, staff are being encouraged to form Employee Resource Groups that feed into company strategies. These include Allcare, a network of employees who are carers outside of work, the LGBTQ+ network Embrace, the Ausome group, which works to raise awareness of Autism and Women in Technology Allstate.

The recent drive comes after Allstate became the first local company awarded Silver Status by Diversity Mark Northern Ireland in 2020. Allstate was also this year named a Stonewall Gold Employer for its efforts in creating an inclusive and welcoming work environment for all staff.

Sabrina Lynch from the Allstate NI Ausome Committee said:
"Ensuring everyone feels comfortable, supported, and represented in the workplace is everyone's responsibility. Within the Ausome Committee, we are working to educate, raise awareness and support those affected by autism. It is refreshing to be allocated time that we can dedicate to training staff, adjusting our environment, and ensuring appropriate customer service processes to make Allstate a comfortable place for all. We want individuals to feel comfortable disclosing a diagnosis of autism, should they wish to, and are also thrilled to be working with the NOW Group to provide 12-week placement opportunities to support people with learning difficulties and autism into jobs with a future."
Vice President and Managing Director of Allstate NI John Healy said:
"Inclusive diversity has long been a core value of Allstate. In 2022, we are working to ensure it is the norm across all of our operations and hope this will inspire a step-change in how we do things. We believe it is important to hold each other accountable to embrace collective differences and individual characteristics, values and beliefs, along with the backgrounds and experiences that give us fresh perspective and purpose."

"Operating in this way helps everyone. It makes our people feel welcome, and we in turn work harder, share better, and produce more innovative ideas when we are accepted for who we are. Our success comes from many different voices, and we are committed to ensuring each one is recognised and represented."