Over 200 local business employees access Neurodiversity Training – a Milestone for Weston College’s Faculty of Inclusive Practice

As one of four national Centres for Excellence in SEND, a brand-new workshop, delivered by highly skilled and experienced neurodivergent employment specialists working at Weston College, achieved a significant milestone in neurodiversity training last week. Over 200 individuals have taken part in Neurodiversity for Business; a collaborative initiative between the faculty and Weston College’s Business Partnership Team. Aimed at supporting businesses to become more aware of neurodivergent individuals and advising on key knowledge and the skills required to recruit, retain, support and inspire neurodiverse staff and customers.

The initiative has already shown promising results. Three local businesses, Mendip Activity Centre, Puxton Park, and The Grand Pier have already implemented changes to become more neurodiversity friendly.

The impact for Puxton Park has already shown incredible results. The park, which attracts over 450,000 visitors every year, has made it their mission to ensure that new play equipment, infrastructure and daily operations are as inclusive and accessible as possible. Investments such as an accessible roundabout, which can be used by children of mixed abilities, as well as a state-of-the-art wheelchair accessible trampoline have already been made, alongside wide paved paths throughout the park for wheelchair access. One of the new additions to the park to support neurodiverse customers is an investment in Ear Defenders which can be rented out free of charge.

According to Lynsey McKinstry, Business Partnership Manager for the SEND provision, "The Faculty team and I are thrilled to have reached this milestone in our neurodiversity training initiative. Our goal is to make sure that every business understands and values individual need. This initiative is not just about ticking a box, but about creating a more inclusive society where everyone can thrive."

Mendip Activity Centre, known for its adventurous outdoor activities, welcoming individuals and groups of all ages and abilities, took part in dedicated training. The next step will be to bring some of the learners with SEND to work with the instructors. Attendees have also praised the initiative, highlighting its practicality and usefulness. One attendee remarked that, "Just by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes who is neurodivergent was hugely impactful and we don’t have the ability to understand unless we ask".

The initiative has received support from various companies, including Alliance Homes, Wessex Water, Thrings, North Somerset Council, GKN, and The Grand Pier.

Since attending the training, The Grand Pier has taken further measures to ensure the attraction is inclusive and accessible for all visitors; they are now providing tinted glasses and noise-reducing headphones to its visitors with sensory sensitivities to ensure they enjoy their time on the Pier comfortably. Additionally, a dedicated quiet room has been established to offer a calm space for those who may need a break from the liveliness. The Pier has also formed a partnership with AccessAble, a trusted and relatable website widely used across the UK.

Businesses who are interested in taking part in the training can click here to find more information.

Inclusive Employer Workshop

Inclusive Employer Workshop

Inclusive Employer Workshop

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