Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability

Pathways15: Best Practice Model for Employment Support Services: Creating Sustainable Career Pathways for Autistic Talent

Kate Halpin, Specialisterne Australia

Specialisterne Australia is a non-for-profit dedicated to helping employers understand, value, and include in their workforce the unique capabilities of people on the autism spectrum. Specialisterne was created out of a desire to show employers the unique skills and abilities possessed by many autistic individuals and assist them in gaining meaningful and long-term careers in the belief that this will benefit both the individuals and the marketplace. Commonly dubbed the Autism Advantage, many employers are now realising there is a talent pool of untapped talent that they aren’t accessing as a result of the interview process. Companies including Westpac, SunPork, PwC, DHHS, SAP and DHS work with Specialisterne to diversify their workforce and help them to find talented autistic staff members to fill their skill gaps.

Our innovative approach at Specialisterne Australia aims to break down these barriers by transforming the traditional recruitment process. We use an innovative, customised recruitment process to assess and select autistic employees which aims to remove the barriers in the traditional recruitment process, connect skilled talent with skilled roles and focus on demonstrating the skills and capabilities of the neurodiverse workforce. In our presentation we will explore how our patient, innovative recruitment method removes barriers, the steps we take to train and match candidates into meaningful roles and the success we have had working with employers to integrate neurodiversity into the workplace.


Kate Halpin is a highly motivated individual with 12+ years of experience within the HR sector & has a strong passion for Diversity & Inclusion. Kate specialises in guiding organisations to achieve their strategic goals in working towards inclusive workplaces which foster innovation through diversity of thought & which challenge traditional recruitment processes. Kate is passionate about embedding an inclusive mindset in organisations by creating change, increasing education & awareness, influencing strategy & above all executing successful inclusion & diversity initiatives. Kate is particularly passionate about increasing the representation of individuals on the Autism Spectrum in the workplace and believes that by removing traditional recruitment barriers, employers have the potential to access the Autism Advantage; an untapped talent pool of highly skilled and work ready individuals.