As part of our Elevate Pledge Inaugural report launch, we delve deeper into some of the successful diversity and inclusion initiatives highlighted in the report. In this piece, learn about Accenture’s Neurodivergent Internship Programme.
Accenture is committed to accelerating inclusion and diversity for all and creating a work environment where everyone feels like they belong. We’re constantly seeking new ideas, new solutions, new perspectives, and we aim to build a workforce that reflects our clients and the communities in which we operate. As part of this commitment, we created a Neurodivergent Internship Programme to help us create a barrier-free and disability inclusive workforce, making it more accessible to a critical talent pool of high-performing people.
Accenture reached out to Specialisterne, a trusted organisation that supports neurodivergent individuals in finding employment. Partnering with Specialisterne ensures the interns have the appropriate levels of support throughout the internship and managers can learn best practice in terms of support and integration into the company.
Accenture identifies managers from across the business who want to get involved and invites them to attend interview skills training sessions which focus on interviewing neurodivergent candidates and how to best support them through interviews.
Candidates are screened, and interviews take place to identify the most suitable interns. The programme also provides preparation calls to the hiring managers ahead of the internship start date and addresses any concerns the teams may have.
Upon joining, the interns attend a tailored induction to welcome them to Accenture. The individual teams plan a structured first week and assign a buddy to each intern to support their integration into their new role. There are also fortnightly support calls between the team leads and a designated support person from Specialisterne that allows the team to quickly solve any individual requirements.
We place a specific emphasis on inclusion with the wider Accenture organisation and encourage the interns to maximise their time with us. For example, one intern voiced that they felt nervous about public speaking, so Accenture organised specific presentation training and created opportunities for the intern to practice their newly acquired presentation skills.
It is important to note that, whilst we ensure the correct supports are in place, each of the intern roles are typical graduate roles with all the expectations to deliver in their respective roles in line with any employee at that level. These internships are an opportunity to provide interesting roles to neurodiverse candidates that assist them to develop the skills and experience required to start a career, while still being responsible for performing and delivering in their roles. The quality of interns in 2021 was excellent and 40% have had their internship duration extended and others have moved to other roles with the experience and skills they have acquired during their 6-month internship with Accenture.
Our Neurodivergent Internship programme has proved to be a huge success. There has been very positive feedback from all the stakeholders involved and we are in the process of interviewing candidates for this year’s internship. We hope to make this an annual programme. In terms of tips for other companies: