As part of our global graduate initiative #Gradathon we asked one of our graduates Thomas to share his experience of being Autistic and a graduate at Capgemini, here’s his story:
My Capgemini journey began in March 2016. I had recently completed my master’s in IT Management, and I was keen to find an employer who would recognise my abilities without being deterred by the unique set of challenges I face.
A disability adviser recommended Capgemini as a company that is known to be particularly supportive of disabled employees. Despite some nervousness about the application process – the prospect of attending an assessment centre filled me with dread – I applied for the role of Graduate Test Analyst, passed the online tests and was invited to attend a telephone interview. The interviewer, perhaps recognising that I might have been anxious, was reassuring and really put me at ease. Consequently I was able to answer the questions well, and was put through to an assessment centre in June 2016.
Thankfully the feared assessment centre was nowhere near as bad as I imagined. The face to face interview and presentation went well, but I knew that the group exercise would take me further out of my comfort zone. However, I managed to relax and contribute to the discussion. A few days later I was delighted to receive a call offering me a place on the Graduate programme, starting in September 2016.
I am Autistic; I have a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. This means that communication can be difficult for me, I experience a continually heightened level of anxiety, and I find people hard to read. I also have sensory sensitivities, which make the office environment challenging to cope with. However, I do not see myself as deficient or defective. On the contrary, I know that I possess a number of strengths which have allowed me to excel in my studies, and in my role as a Test Analyst.
Autistic people are significantly underrepresented in employment; just 16% of us are in full time work, and yet over three quarters of those who are unemployed say they want to work. Many employers aren’t aware that we can be extremely well-skilled, highly qualified and employable individuals. In addition to personal traits and individual strengths, it is very common for Autistic people to exude:
• High levels of concentration and focus
• Reliability and dependability
• Attention to detail and accuracy
• Technical abilities, such as computer programming
• Factual knowledge and excellent memory
For the above reasons, I believe that many Autistic individuals are ideally suited to work in IT, particularly software development and testing.
I have been fortunate to meet many kind, intelligent and inspiring people at Capgemini. Every colleague has their own personality and unique perspective. Among them I have met a number of Autistic colleagues, who often stand out among their peers in terms of ‘thinking outside the box’. It makes sense that people who think differently bring new ideas to the table, helping to drive technological innovation.
Since joining Test & Release one year ago I have built up my confidence working with more experienced Test Analysts, and now I often work on projects as the sole tester from my team. My skillset has grown and I have gained the ISTQB Foundation Certificate in Software Testing. I have helped to deliver Autism Awareness talks to my colleagues, sharing a positive message about what Autistic people can achieve. I am proud that Capgemini supports me and others on the spectrum to develop our full potential.
Capgemini UK Graduate