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Discovering hidden talent: how to attract and retain neurodiverse candidates

Date: 30th April 2024
Location: Oldham
Time: 9:30am - 10:30am
Theme: Wellbeing, People, Skills & Talent

This is an external event

Join us for a virtual panel discussion for businesses to hear how they can diversify their workforce and attract, retain and support neurodivergent employees.


The panel discussion will explore the benefits of embracing neurodiversity in the workplace and the unique skills and perspectives that neurodiverse individuals bring to teams.

 The panel will also address the challenges and barriers that exist within traditional recruitment processes, examining ways in which organisations can create more inclusive hiring practices to ensure equitable opportunities for all candidates.


What will attendees take away from the session?

  • Increase awareness of the importance of an inclusive recruitment process
  • The benefits of a diverse workforce
  • Ideas and strategies to support and foster an environment where neurodiverse individuals can thrive and contribute their full potential

Bio of Deliverers:

Adrian Bird (He/Him)
Adrian is Head of Aspire in Partnership, which is an inclusive recruitment service funded and delivered by the Growth Company. The service supports organisations to diversify their workforces and deliver on social value commitments & objectives. He has over 10 years’ experience supporting people from under-represented backgrounds to gain sustainable employment.

Emma Connolly
Emma’s role within GM Business Growth Hub is to engage, support and guide businesses in improving the wellbeing of their workforce and leaders, ensuring they have the tools required to implement or enhance their existing wellbeing strategy.


Dr Shirley Woods - Gallagher

Shirley was born on the Beech Hill Estate in Wigan. She was the first woman in her family to go to University and the only person in her family with a PhD. Shirley has over 20 years’ experience in local government. Shirley is a recipient of a UNESCO and IFIP Global Inclusion Award 2024 for leadership.

Shirley is also currently nominated for an All For Inclusion Award, sponsored by the University of Manchester for Hidden Disability Personality of the Year 2024.

She has also been twice nominated for the ITV National Diversity Awards in 2023 in the categories of both hidden disability and age.

Shirley is the acting Chair of Trustees for the Greater Manchester charity, Respect for All who provide counselling to people who are either Autistic and/or have a learning disability in Greater Manchester. The charity won the MACC Spirit of Manchester Campaign Award in 2023 and also a UNESCO and IFIP Global Inclusion Award 2024 for social impact 2024. Shirley is she is also a member of the Advisory Panel for Children’s Viewing at the British Board of Film Classification and an Advisory Board member for Invest In Play.

Shirley has worked at both the House of Commons and European Parliament in the 90s. She has also given evidence to two parliamentary Select Committees in 2018 when she was invited to be Andy Burnham’s Special Advisor on School Readiness.

Her story is not a tragedy. She is just so over shame. She is proud to be a values driven, resilient, authentic leader. Autism made her.

Eligibility Criteria:

GM based businesses who are looking at ways to diversify their workforce and attract, retain and support neurodivergent employees. Businesses looking at recruitment and working with Aspire.

As this workshop is fully-funded, businesses are subject to funders' eligibility criteria. If your place is confirmed, you will receive an email from us with further details.

Once your place is confirmed, you will receive an email from us with the venue details.

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Where is it?

This is an external event


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