Allstate NI partners with the NOW Group to deliver placements for individuals with learning difficulties and autism

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

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

It comes as the IT company enhances its diversity and inclusion practices to ensure underrepresented members of society are both a part of the company and have a voice in all policies and decisions.

A partner of Autism NI, Northern Ireland’s main autism charity, Allstate also delivered training courses to over 50 employees in 2021 aimed at developing their understanding of autism. This was acknowledged with the Autism NI Impact Award, presented to Allstate in March 2022 for creating a supportive and inclusive work environment for autistic people through workplace improvements. The award also recognises Allstate’s commitment to providing individualised customer service that assists people with autism, as well as creating a culture in which they feel safe disclosing an autism statement.

Allstate is supporting the development of 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 within the company and Women in Technology Allstate.

The initiatives come after Allstate became the first local company awarded Silver Status by Diversity Mark Northern Ireland in 2020 and was named a Stonewall Gold Employer for creating an inclusive and welcoming work environment for all earlier this year.

Allstate NI Ausome Committee member Sabrina Lynch 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.”

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.”