Student Experiences – Neurodiversity & Inclusion (Emily Cole)

Neurodiversity / Neurodiversity & Inclusion at Work

Emily Cole is a Strengths-Based Practitioner (Neurodiversity & Inclusion) who graduated from the Level 3 Certificate Neurodiversity & Inclusion in 2024. Below is a summary of her experience on this course in her own words.


What motivated you to apply for and engage in this course?

In all honestly, applying for this course was quite a ‘scary’ thing for me, as my experience of university during teacher training almost 10 years before wasn’t the best. I didn’t, at the time, enjoy academic writing and found myself struggling with this element of my degree with little to no ‘real-life’ experience.

The motivation came from my desire to progress my career as a trainer and my passion to engage the organisations I work with to become champions building an inclusive workplace culture, particularly around neurodiversity. I hoped the course would provide me with the confidence and knowledge I needed to train other professionals.

As soon as I found myself writing about something I know and am passionate about, the anxiety disappeared quite quickly and for the first time I felt myself enjoying the process. Plus, to my surprise, I was able to write well! Being able to engage with the learning remotely, on my own timetable and terms, was a huge bonus for me as I work full time. I felt part of the conversation when watching the webinars but was able to pause, start again, re-watch parts and come back later as and when I needed to.

Another huge motivator for engaging in this course is that it is written and delivered by someone with lived experience. Not a lecturer lecturing about statistics and research (though that plays an important role), an actual real-life human being with relatable stories and real knowledge and experiences!


What are you taking away from your learning experience?

I am taking away a new-found enjoyment of learning, the confidence to achieve a qualification and above all the motivation to further spread the word about neurodiversity and the positive impact embracing it can have on society and the workplace.

I have a new motivation to deliver my training courses from a positive point of view, focusing on the benefits a person can bring to an organisation and the benefits being part of an inclusive organisation can bring to a person with a neurodivergent condition(s). I don’t want to scare companies into being inclusive with facts, figures and employment law, I want them to want to employ and continue to support a diverse workforce.

The confidence this course has helped me to gain in terms of training delivery is extremely valuable. Delivering training, particularly online, can be daunting and the opportunity to practise this with the course tutors in a live session was so helpful. To have their honest and experienced feedback allowed me to further refine my course content and my training style.


How do you plan to use your qualification in the future?

As part of my role with Yellowday Training, I support our customers in finding the right training solutions for their organisation and teams. I plan to use my qualification to continue to deliver high-quality, bespoke training opportunities for our customers which will allow them to make huge steps in building an inclusive workplace culture.

I plan to work with individuals and teams in establishing the essential knowledge and mindset-shift that is needed to fully embrace neurodiversity. I want to remove the stigma and misconceptions that sadly surround the topic and help people to see the huge benefits that neurodiverse colleagues bring to an organisation. The statistics surrounding employment rates currently, particularly for people with Autism, are extremely concerning. The recent Buckland Review of Autism Employment (Feb 2024) highlighted just how far we as a society have to go in embracing neurodiversity and creating successful employment opportunities. I hope to be a small splash in a wave of change in the near future.


Bio

Emily Cole is an experienced educational practitioner and Neurodiversity and Inclusion training facilitator.

Emily is a qualified teacher, experienced manager and has achieved her National Award for SEND Co-ordination. Prior to working in training and development, Emily spent the first part of her career training and working as a primary school teacher and SEND Co-ordinator. She is an experienced line manager and member of a school senior leadership team and is currently a volunteer SEND governor for a local primary school.

Emily now supports Yellowday Training in delivering high-quality, bespoke training solutions for public sector and private organisations. Her passion is for ensuring that workplaces and organisations can offer an inclusive environment for all. She aims to open eyes to the benefits of recruiting and appropriately supporting team members with neurodiverse conditions (for example Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and many more).

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