Taking a different track: New panel to help Northern support staff who ‘think differently’

Northern is working with more than 40 of its staff to come up with the best way to support the train operator’s neurodiverse employees.

Around one in seven people (more than 15 per cent of people in the UK) are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently.

The train operator has set up a new working group alongside a new policy to support people with conditions such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, and Tourette’s syndrome

The policy pledges to provide support and guidance for our colleagues with neurodivergent conditions while the working group has been set up to understand people’s needs and how best the train operator can support them.

Lisa Leighton, people director at Northern, said: “Around one in seven people in the UK are thought to be neurodivergent, which means of our 7,000 colleagues, as many as 1,000 could be affected.

“With this working group of colleagues, our aim is to continue to develop a culture where everyone feels included and valued and make Northern a great place to work for everyone, recognising understanding, and appreciating individual needs.”

Thomas Case, who works as a train presentation operative at Northern and has autism, said: “The neurodiversity policy is so incredibly important to have. The workplace can be a scary place for those with neurodiverse issues and the policy helps managers and colleagues gain an understanding of the neurodiverse issues a colleague may have, and why it’s important that they get the right support.”

Northern also has an equality, diversity, and inclusion policy, outlining its commitment to developing an inclusive working environment and being truly representative of the communities it serves.

Earlier this year Northern was highly commended for the Best in Inclusion category at the Greater Manchester Good Employment Awards.

The Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter is a voluntary scheme aimed at raising employment standards across the area. It champions commitment to equality, fair pay, and giving employees a say in how their workplace is run.

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