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Rolls-Royce forges ahead to break down barriers for neurodiverse graduates

Rolls-Royce forges ahead to break down barriers for neurodiverse graduates

Rolls-Royce has signalled its support for neuro-diverse undergrads by offering paid internships to all ten finalists in the new targetjobs Neurodiversity Undergraduate of the Year award, having previously committed to offering an internship to one winner.

As part of the process, Rolls-Royce asked students to highlight their achievements and examples of how they have demonstrated resilience, determination, independent and innovative thinking, as well as any other relevant skills. 

Employees at Rolls-Royce found that making some very small changes to their assessment process meant neurodiverse students felt more confident and could perform at their best. 

These changes included:

  • Giving applicants advanced sight of information in problem-solving scenarios, reflecting the time they would have in the workplace.
  • Ensuring information was as accessible as possible and using clear, easy-to-read fonts and phrasing.
  • Acknowledging that some students experience digital fatigue and may need to turn cameras off during longer online sessions. 
  • Recognising that judging tone of voice and levels of eye contact can be inappropriate for neurodiverse applicants.  

At the assessment centre, Rolls-Royce also provided an impartial neurodiversity consultant. Applicants could speak to the consultant at any point in the day.

The paid internships will begin in July and run for ten weeks.

Ellie Long, Global Inclusive Hiring & Campaign Lead at Rolls-Royce, said:

“The quality of talent across this award category was so high that we felt it was fitting to offer all ten finalists internships at Rolls-Royce, having originally committed to offering an internship to one winner.

“We have learnt so much from working together with students throughout this process, including how to make very simple adjustments in our recruitment processes to ensure all students feel comfortable and can perform to the best of their ability. Without providing this flexibility in our processes, Rolls-Royce could miss out on talent.

“The world needs people who think differently and approach problems from new perspectives. We are grateful for the opportunities neurodiversity people create for us in the workplace and society.”

Rachel Muir, Computer Science and IT student at University of Kent, said:

“I am delighted to win the Undergraduate of the Year Award Celebrating Neurodiverse Talent. When I first applied for the competition, I knew I was applying for a placement with Rolls-Royce but I wasn’t quite aware of the vast scale of the competition. I am so glad that I applied and experienced such an amazing event and am now looking forward to the summer internship. I hope to see others apply next year, with the belief in themselves that they can win it too!”

Ryan Herbert, Business Management student at LUMS, said:

“I’m really pleased to be a top ten finalist. The whole experience has been amazing. I’ve got to talk to some high-profile people within Rolls-Royce and have already been offered an internship for this summer, which is fantastic. The process has boosted my confidence immeasurably, especially when it comes to interviews. I’m grateful to LUMS for advertising this opportunity to me. I’m looking forward to the award ceremony!”

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