APSCo Australia has been thrilled to note that the past chair of the ACT Committee David Smith has been selected as an Outstanding Alumnus of the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Programme (OAMLP) by Oxford University. This recognition was for successfully translating his unique learnings from the Oxford Advanced Management and Leadership Programme into social purpose based strategies and practices. Practically this resulted in the launch of a neurodiversity programme Autism at Work in APSCo Australia Member company Peoplebank. Under this programme David has created employment opportunities and support services for people with Autism.
The citation to David noted that: “The background to this story is that as a parent of a child with Autism and as a distinguished participant on the OAMLP, David’s light bulb moment came when he reflected on the difficult challenge that people with Autism face when trying to gain employment. As an IT recruitment executive, you knew that Australia faces massive skills shortage and you decided to focus on absorbing young men and women with Autism into the work force.”(OAMLP)
In consultation with fellow participants on the OAMLP, experts and various specialised institutions, and through highly specialised education, David developed and launched the Autism at Work program in Peoplebank. The program is not a charity based concept and has strong business justification which guarantees support of all stakeholders and ongoing sustainability.
The CEO of Peoplebank and APSCo Australia Life Member Peter Acheson stated that: “over the past 18 months, more than 40 ‘neurodiversity’ candidates were placed into roles for various major clients including Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Tax Office, DXC, ANZ Bank and a number of other major corporate and government clients. The program achieved its objective of satisfying the needs of delivering strong support from all stakeholders and became part of Peoplebank’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and a business that the Peoplebank team became proud to be part of promoting to our clients and the market. Subsequently, the program has been shortlisted by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies in Australia (APSCo Au) in 2019, as a leading example of a major industry shaping diversity and inclusion program.”
Inspired by the success of this programme David has created a new social enterprise/business “Employ for Ability” which is also an APSCo Australia Member. David’s role as a board member in several organisations, as a transformational leader with social purpose and as a public speaker is commendable and he truly exemplifies the work that all recruiters do to unlock the potential of the modern workforce.