Bank embraces staff with autism

Barclays and scottish autism

Barclay's is working with Scottish Autism to develop an inclusive and accessible environment at its new premises 

29th January 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A financial powerhouse is set to offer increased support to employees with autism.

Scottish Autism has announced a two year partnership project with Barclays to develop an inclusive and accessible environment for autistic employees at its new site in the heart of Glasgow.

The charity, Scotland’s largest provider of autism-specific services and a leading authority and advocate for good autism practice, was invited by Barclays to support their aims of promoting diversity at the new Glasgow campus. The bank’s investment will create up to 2,500 new jobs. 

Scottish Autism’s practice development manager Joanna Panese, an experienced practitioner and leader, has been appointed as Scottish Autism’s lead consultant on the project. She has over 12 years’ experience within the third sector through direct practice, service development and management roles. 

Panese and her team of specialist autism advisors will be on hand throughout the project providing advice and support on best practice when creating accessible environments for autistic people. The team is currently supporting the project team at the design and development stage of the build. This included advising on practical matters such as the type of flooring and materials that support an inclusive environment. She will be working closely with the autism focus group at Barclays to ensure that the voice of autistic employees is heard throughout the project so they are able to inform the development of an inclusive and accessible working environment.

Charlene Tait, deputy chief executive of Scottish Autism, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Barclays to support its aim of creating a welcoming, accessible and inclusive culture for not only autistic employees, but employees from all backgrounds, at the new Glasgow campus. This new site will not only have a significant economic impact for Scotland, it will also provide an important employment opportunity for people from a diverse background who often face barriers into work, including autistic individuals and those with disabilities.

“Led by Joanna and her team, autistic people will be at the very heart of this project. We have developed our training and consultancy service to support other businesses committed to being inclusive employers.”

Scott Stewart, head of Barclays Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be working with Scottish Autism at this exciting time for Barclays.  As we double our headcount in Scotland we want to do this in a way that attracts, retains and develops the best talent.  The design of the campus is crucial in this respect.

“As an employer, we are committed to working collaboratively to share best practices to remove barriers to employment. Our proactive approach towards disability and mental health has had a positive effect on our organisational culture, opened up a wider talent pool and created opportunities for people of all abilities to join us, grow and fulfil their potential.

“At Barclays, our ambition is to become one of the most accessible and inclusive companies in the world, not only because it makes good commercial sense, but because it’s the right thing to do.”