Background the to the business
Partners with Industry is a community interest company that champions neurodiversity (such as ADHD, autism and dyslexia) by using innovation and technical development as a vehicle to promote change, raise awareness and educate people.
From a technical development perspective, the company is about reducing waste, saving money, helping the environment and making a company’s machines and processes more efficient. But unfortunately, one of the big frustrations is that to solve the problems with the environment, we need clever minds. As such, from a community interest perspective, it’s about breaking down barriers that prevent neurodiverse people from solving these problems.
“We have a massive talent pool out there,” says Managing Director Richard Pugh, “and yet we seem to have a shortage of skilled programmers, for example in the area of Programmable Logic Controllers. We have a large number of neurodiverse people able to programme but they are prevented from doing so due to factors such as social mobility and disability – so that’s where I come in.”
Currently, only 22% of autistic people are in work. Partners with Industry aims to show businesses that Autism isn’t a weakness – it’s a strength.
The product they have created provides all companies large and small with a cost-effective means to view the real time performance and cycle data from their machines from anywhere in the world without the need for specialist applications. This data also includes the cost of production in terms of energy usage so that companies can identify areas of waste.
The company itself, however, is the biggest Innovation. The Key Performance Indicator is how many lives of the people in the community they are able to improve. The more successful their commercial side, the more people they will be able to help. “We will actively look to provide opportunities for people in the community whose talents sometimes get overlooked or would struggle in the traditional working environment.”
Partners with Industry are currently working with Ambitious about Autism to help train and support employers to take on neurodiverse employees for these roles.
“Ambitious about Autism are going to support the employee and train the company, and we’re going to be providing the employees with technical training and supporting them technically while they’re in that company. We don’t just drop people off and leave them there – we want to develop a support network for companies to work with us in.”
Impact of COVID-19
It was the pandemic that enabled Partners for Industry to come into existence due to reduced the cost of starting a business. However, Richard mentioned the challenges the pandemic presented with the shift to virtual events. “Building a Network is difficult because you can’t go over and speak with someone one-to-one at an online event, so you ultimately lose some connections.”
Partners with Industry has worked to master the art of the online meeting, making everything online and visual, for example creating a product demo accessible online.
The plan is to develop and expand the commercial side which will enable us to help more and more people. “The organisation will constantly be aiming to develop new cost-effective solutions to help companies, looking at business product and development as well as assessing people skills, which will enable us to develop something to make use of those skills.”