Specialisterne Training

Training to harness the talent of people with ASD/Asperger and improve their social and work capabilities


Our Training Program offers people with ASD/Asperger or similar diagnoses an opportunity to change their life based on identifying and developing skills that can be applied in a professional working environment. We work with our candidates to find out what is their special skill set, what are their personal and professional skills and interests, and what special needs or challenges they have. For most of our candidates, this initial process is often the first step in a career that they had never thought could be open to them.

Discovering talent

Our initial goal is to see beyond diagnosis and identify talent: for example, the ability to identify patterns that are not readily visible to most people, the ability to maintain a very high level of concentration for longer periods than normal, to have an excellent memory, or to be able to perform certain tasks over and over again without making a single mistake. The options are as varied as the personalities of the candidates.

We also understand that due to the nature of autism, Asperger syndrome, ADHD and other similar diagnoses, our candidates often have very specific needs or difficulties when considering a possible workplace. Some, for example, may need some flexibility in their working hours and others may need specific advice or a clear and predictable structure in their day to day. Each candidate is different. Knowing the individual needs of support, guidance and adjustments in the workplace is the work of our team of specially trained tutors.

Once the Candidate profile is determined, we work to find a job opportunity that fits him or her. If the candidate has a profile that matches work in the field of data and documentation processing, software testing or in other field of IT (Information Technology), in most cases we offer a position as a Specialisterne consultant.

In cases where a candidate’s profile does not match the jobs we have available, we offer support and additional guidance in identifying alternative employment or opportunities for additional training.

 

Technical Training

Candidates with ASD/Asperger or similar diagnoses are trained in areas such as software testing, and data and document processing, two areas for which candidates are often gifted and for which we demand for professionals. We also provide training for specific tasks or tools that our customers require.

The main technical training modules are:

  • Basics of programming using LEGO Mindstorm robots.
  • Project, tasks and schedule management with the scrum methodology (widely used today in the technology sector).
  • Office software, and data and document processing (with tools like Microsoft Office).
  • Software testing, including preparation for Foundation Level certification of ISTQB, which certifies software testers in over 100 countries.

Social and work training

During the 5 months of training, we simultaneously also train and prepare students in the necessary social and work skills which are essential to ensure their employability.

We believe in the potential of people and their ability to learn new strategies and behaviours that allow them to keep a job. We have a skills model that allows us to project the development of our students, consultants and all staff working for Specialisterne. For us, the social and work skills are as important as technical skills.

In Specialisterne, we use different strategies/learning tools for the development of social and work skills, such as:

  • Specific training on labour issues: confidentiality, skills chart, resume writing, interviews, etc.
  • Coaching: individual and specific support for individual development plan
  • Structured dialogue spaces to create work objectives and evaluate possible strategies to achieve them.
  • Continuous assessment: constant monitoring throughout the process to observe developments and individual needs.
  • Social and labour activities to encourage group interaction in various social situations, enhancing those suitable for a working environment

 

For more information

If you want to learn more about our Training Program, please click on the FAQ listed below and contact us if you have any doubts.


Training

Courses begin: every 3-5 months in Barcelona and Madrid
We begin a new course every 3-5 months, both in Barcelona and Madrid.

The courses offer between 10 and 12 seats and are totally free.

Training duration: 5 months

The training lasts for 5 months.

Rarely, students who are in the final stages of practice and are ready to work can be incorporated into Specialisterne a little earlier.

In other cases, we lengthen the internship of the student to continue working on improving their technical, social and work skills.

The training schedule is:

  • Mondays and Fridays from 9:30 to 13:00
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00

In the mornings there is a trainer in IT (Information Technology) and a tutor in the classroom, while in the evenings the classroom is run by one or two tutors.

What does the training involve? Technical, social and work skills

The training at Specialisterne aims to train students, both from a technical standpoint as well as a social and professional one, so they can work on data and document processing tasks, software testing and other more advanced tasks.

The training is structured in 3 sections:

  • Adaptation, where we seek for students to adjust to the environment, we get to know them, and we teach them the basics of project management and computer science. To achieve this, we use LEGO Mindstorm robots, initiating students into their programming and use. (No previous computer knowledge is required).
  • Training of specialists, where we provide training in data processing tools, project management and software testing. Students who wish to, may sit an external official examination in software testing (ISTQB) that certifies them internationally. At the same time, we work individually, and with the help of the tutor, to improve the social and work skills of each student, seeking to improve their employability.
  • Internships, where we put students through situations that are increasingly more similar to the ones that they will face in a real job, while they practice performing different tasks. We continue to work the social and work skills, exploring the motivations of each student and assessing the type of tasks that they can fit in better.

Training language: Spanish

Both in Madrid and in Barcelona, ​​training courses welcome students from all over Spain, so training is taught in Spanish.

What happens at the end of training?

The Ideal destination of our students is that, at the end of the training course, they join the staff of Specialisterne as consultants. The whole Specialisterne team works towards that goal.

But in some cases, this incorporation is delayed because:

  • The student still needs to improve technical, social or work skills, and we have to extend their training.
  • The student is ready, but we are waiting for a project to assign them. While they wait, the students continue their training.

In some cases, we do not offer a job to the student, considering that he has not achieved a minimum level of compliance with the objectives that will allow us to hire him or her. In these cases, we provide a proposal for personal improvement or refer students to other companies or entities (often, Special Employment Centres) where we think they can find a more suitable job opportunity with their abilities and interests in mind. We would support them in their possible entry process.

Finally, there are students who, after finishing the course, and after having improved in many technical and/or social and work aspects, prefer to resume their studies or even look for a job on their own.

Internationally, the success rate of the Specialisterne formation model (Measured as % of students who end up working in Specialisterne or some other entity within a few months after completing the training) is 80%.


Profile of our students

General profile of students

Specialisterne students usually have a diagnosis of ASD, but there are cases with other diagnoses and even without a definite diagnosis.

Many of these students have their certificate of disability, but there are others who do not have it because they have not requested it or it has been denied. In general, if they do have it, their degree of disability is of 33%, but there are some rare cases of a higher percentage.

Specialisterne training lasts only 5 months, so we look for people who have a real interest in working, because the probability of having a job is high after completing it. The minimum age to enter the course is 18 years.

The student must have some degree of personal autonomy and, if possible, the support of their families. The Specialisterne team can also help them in gaining autonomy using public transportation, following a schedule in the morning, etc.

Regarding prior training, their background is varied. Some students have not finished high school, while others have completed some vocational training, have started or even finished college.

In the next drop down you can learn more details about the different profiles.

Student profiles for data and document processing

Students, once hired, usually work in two areas: data and document processing (i.e. work that tends to be administrative); software testing and other more advanced and specialized tasks in the IT sector.

The data and document processing jobs are usually very systematic and quite repetitive. Examples include data entry forms, orders or invoices, reviewing contact databases, inventor and cataloguing of documents, scanning, editing of large volumes of photos or videos, etc.

Still, within this area, the projects in which Specialisterne works are varied. There are some that are very repetitive, while others have much variability and require more flexibility. In some cases, the person that performs them has to continuously apply criteria to make decisions, while in others the task is simpler and is not subject to any decision-taking.

In any case, for this type of work, it helps to have a good command of Windows and Microsoft Office-like applications. In addition, any administrative training, office software or typing clearly help.

Specialisterne, over 5 months of training, gets to know very well the students and their abilities and interests, and thereafter looks to place them in a project where they fit well.

Students' profiles for software testing

In the area of ​​software testing, we differentiate two types of tasks:

  • Running tests, in which they must verify that an application, a website, an app, etc. works properly from the point of view of the user.
  • Definition of testing, test automation and other more advanced tasks of software testing.

Test run projects are usually well defined and prepared, and they do not require the test runners to have the computer skills beyond those of an advanced use. But it is required to have some interest in computer science. They also demand greater flexibility and the ability to perform tasks that are not fully detailed or systematic. From this basis, any student who passes the 5 months training process receives enough training and practice to perform these tasks.

Regarding more advanced tasks of software testing, a prior training in computer science and a clear motivation for developing software, plus some creativity are required. In some cases, students that begin performing test execution tasks are formed gradually and end up doing more advanced tasks.

Profiles that require an extensive academic background

Some of our students have degrees in computer science, university studies of various types (usually technical courses) or have learned much by themselves or combining short courses.

If it is possible, Specialisterne seeks to take full advantage of their training. So we have students who are working in software development projects, computer security and cryptography, mathematical analysis (big data), etc.


Employment after training

Is there commitment to employment?

No, Specialisterne does not guarantee students a job after the course. But the goal of Specialisterne is to train people to incorporate them into the labour market, so the employment rate is high (currently over 60%).

Specialisterne hires students when there is a first project with a client in which to place them. That, of course, cannot always be the day after finishing training, so while they wait, they have the opportunity to continue the final phase of training (internship) to prepare them better. The student does not have to pay for extending their formation length.

Regarding the real employment rate, currently (October 2016) the situation is a little different in each Specialisterne office:

  • In the case of Barcelona, all students who achieve the necessary skills (most of those who complete the course) are offered a job in Specialisterne after the course or a few weeks or months later. In fact, they have client requests for software testing profiles pending to be covered with prospective students.
  • In the case of Madrid, the rhythm of entry of new projects and customers is There is a group of trained students that we hope to gradually hire.
Type of contract: indefinite, full-time employment contracts

With very few exceptions, the type of contract that Specialisterne makes students — who become consultants — is indefinite.

Also, except for justified exceptions such as medical reasons or derived from a diagnosis, the working hours are 40 hours per week.

When a consultant’s project is over, Specialisterne relocates that consultant to another project. If there is a waiting time, the consultant continues to work in Specialisterne’s office in internal projects and to improve their technical, social and work skills.

Employment with the support of a coach
Todos los consultores de

All Specialisterne consultants are assigned a coach or tutor, whom they meet every week or every two weeks and is accessible at all times. The role of the coach is to support the consultant in any complex situation such as the start of a new project and to continue their training and guidance in social and working aspects.

Professional career

Specialisterne ensures that its consultants can pursue a career, getting to undergo gradually more complex projects as they learn, and gain experience and confidence.

The projects of Specialisterne’s customers tend to be several months or even years long, so we can provide a stable environment, without continuous change. But, when possible, each consultant will try assuming increasingly complex projects, improving as a professional and, therefore obtaining a higher salary.

Many success stories

In Spain, more than 60 people have already been trained by Specialisterne and are working on Specialisterne or other entities.

On the section Testimonies you can learn more about some of their stories, and in the Specialisterne Team section you can see many others. And right here you can see the story of some of them.


Cost of the course, housing and sponsorships

Course fee: Currently free

One of the objectives of Specialisterne is to seek public support and sponsorships worldwide to cover all or part of the cost of the training that Specialisterne offers people with ASD. In the absence of such aid, Specialisterne usually covers part of those costs and finds mechanisms such as easy payment terms so that no person with ASD is left out of our training for economic reasons.

In Spain, Specialisterne began paying two-thirds of the total cost of the course, but in 2015 it began to receive public support and private grants that allowed, since then, to offer the course for free. (See the list of sponsors on the Sponsors page).

However, we cannot guarantee that these subsidies be repeated in the coming years.

Also, certain public grants require students to meet certain conditions. In some cases, there is a maximum age, while in others the disability certificate is required. Private grants usually do not have any conditions.

Other aids: subsidized transportation and subsistence allowance

Specialisterne actively seeks financial support to facilitate the attendance of students to our courses, taking care in many cases of the application process. This way, in some cases, students have received financial aid for their transportation and/or subsistence allowance. However, such aids depend on various factors external to Specialisterne, or apply only to a specific student profile.

Contact us about possible grants for each edition of the course.

Housing: we help to find it

If the students usually reside away from Madrid and Sant Cugat (Barcelona), they will, most likely, have to find housing, both during training and later on if they are hired.

Both in Madrid and Barcelona we can help in finding a dorm or an individual or shared apartment. Also, if the student wants some support, we can refer him or her to other entities that help people with ASD support services to live on their own.

We are working on the possibility of Specialisterne offering rooms in shared flats so that, although the students or their families have to pay for it, they avoid having to find a home, rent it, etc.

Contact us and we will help finding the right solution for each case.

Connect With Us

Spreading awareness of Specialisterne and our goal to enable one million jobs for people with autism and similar challenges is our top priority. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Next courses: year 2018

The next editions of the assessment and training program for people with ASD will begin in Barcelona and in Madrid.

Read more

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