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Autistic workers deserve a chance

A former nuclear marine engineer is calling for businesses to do more to support and encourage employees with autism. Andrew Warneken, from Warneken Consulting,

based in Melbourne, South Derbyshire, was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 47. A former lieutenant commander in the Royal

Navy, Mr Warneken trained as a submarine officer specialising in navigation and warfare. He then re-trained as a submarine nuclear

marine engineering officer and was in charge of teams of highly qualified and intelligent officers and technicians on a variety of submarine missions across the globe. He now wants to use his experience managing

teams within the military to help coach managers to drive efficiencies and break down barriers for people in work. He said: “People with autism naturally have a

high IQ. They are dedicated, focused and driven so if employers don’t consider their recruitment processes or understand their employees they could unwittingly be excluding individuals that would excel in that role.” Mr Warneken, who himself struggled with

communication issues while working, is offering businesses the opportunity to find out more about how they can make sure they are clear in their approach with all employees.

precision and fact. With people with autism struggling to pick up non-verbal communications as well it can be very confusing.” According to the National Autistic Society

(NAS) about one in 100 people are on the autistic spectrum, which is an estimated 700,000 people in the UK. Only 16 per cent of these are in full-time paid employment.

‘People with autism naturally have a high IQ. They are dedicated, focused and driven’

For Andrew, who now supports Derby-based

Andrew Warneken: Business needs to do more to support autistic employees

He said: “Most of the time it simply comes

down to being clearer in your communication. I never understood why people would say, ‘could you get that file back by 5pm?’ you have only said when you wanted the file back by and not when the work needed to be completed by. “That is often where the problem lies as people often communicate using inference rather than

In the navy: Burton college students on board HMS Prince of Wales

charity Sunshine Support, which helps children living with autism, it wasn’t until his doctor raised the possibility he could be showing traits of autism that he was diagnosed. The diagnosis went on to explain his

fascination with facts, precision and structure, which helped him in his naval career. However, despite his success he always felt he

didn’t quite see things the same as others did and would often focus on his problem solving as a form of escape. April is National Autism Awareness Month,

and it is hoped to increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism.

Contractor wraps up £1m production refit

Specialist contractor Bromley Hays has completed a £1million refurbishment and fit-out of new production facilities for a long-term automotive client. The firm, based in Rugeley, Staffordshire,

stripped out the client’s 13,390 sq ft building in the East Midlands, before converting the space into a new production operation. As the principal contractor, Bromley Hays

Students visit new Navy ship

Students from Burton and South Derbyshire College recently had the opportunity to explore the Royal Navy’s newest ship, HMS Prince of Wales, while it was docked in Liverpool. During the trip, the public services students

were able to learn more about careers in the Royal Navy while being given a tour around the 65,000 tonne ship, the second of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers. The flight deck on HMS Prince of Wales is 70

metres wide and 280 metres long – enough space for three football pitches – and the ship holds 45 days’ worth of food in its stores. The ship has a crew of 700, and can carry 36

F-35 Lightning vertical take-off fighters also a variety of helicopters, including Chinooks, Apaches and Merlins.

Students were given a tour of the flight deck

and aircraft hangar, while also having the chance to attend a careers event hosted by the Ministry of Defence and companies who work alongside the Royal Navy. The trip was arranged as part of the college’s

industry partnerships with the armed services. Public services courses give students the skills needed for the police, fire, ambulance, prison and military services. Public services lecturer Rob Stevenson said:

“The trip was a fantastic opportunity for students to explore one of the most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK. It was a chance for students to see first-hand the size and scale of the ship, as well as exploring the vast array of roles available on board.”

was responsible for delivering the whole project, including installing a new mezzanine floor, two floors of new partitions and ceilings including sliding glass doors, electric shutters and security doors as well as the design and installation of new air conditioning, ventilation, electrics, lighting, data and access controls. The project took five months to

complete, and is the 35th Bromley Hays has completed for its client. Managing director Jay Hensman said: “It is

testament to the attitude and quality of our team and supply chain that we are able to develop such strong relationships with our clients, and win so much repeat business. “This project was particularly complex

due to the volume of existing services that had to be surveyed and then modified.”

April 2020 CHAMBERLINK 47

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