Tuesday, June 15

People With Dyslexia Have The Skills We Need, Says GCHQ | GCHQ

Trainees in the GCHQ scheme are four times more likely to have dyslexia than those in other organizations’ programs, the agency said, as a result of a push to recruit those whose brains process information differently.

GCHQ says that people with dyslexia have valuable skills in spotting patterns that others miss, a key area the spy agency wants to encourage as it shifts away from dead letter deliveries and toward cybersecurity and analytics. high-tech data.

“We are looking for people who can see something that is out of place in a bigger picture, who have good visual awareness and can spot anomalies,” said Jo Cavan, director of strategy, policy and engagement at GCHQ.

“If you are sifting through large amounts of data from a large number of sources to prevent a terrorist attack or serious organized crime, skills like pattern recognition are key. Many dyslexic colleagues have these strengths. “

Cavan said the agency has valued neurodiversity for its 100-year existence, with World War II codebreaker Alan Turing as its best-known employee with dyslexia. However, the shift to online defense and security driven by the government integrated review March will make dyslexic thinking skills an even more important feature of GCHQ’s future, he said.

Cavan’s comments coincided with a vodcast produced by the Made by dyslexia charity, which aims to rethink how dyslexia is understood in education and employment as a strength rather than a weakness.

Charlotte, a data analyst at GCHQ, said her dyslexic thinking had helped her in her career, though she had also benefited from working in a supportive environment that understood the challenges her condition poses.

“I often go through a large amount of data and find that my dyslexia helps me see the big picture and spot patterns that are not always obvious to everyone around me. I also find that my approach to finding solutions is very different. I often think pretty fast and out of the box, ”he said.

To encourage dyslexic people to apply, GCHQ actively promotes itself as a neurodiverse employer and offers adjustments to its recruiting process, such as allowing people to bring in mind maps or having extra time, as well as introducing awareness training for managers and peer support groups.

The learning program is especially attractive to people with dyslexia, as many “don’t feel like they can thrive in a traditional educational setting,” Cavan said.

According to Kate Griggs, CEO of Made by Dyslexia, GCHQ is a good example of how employers can take advantage of the distinctive ways that people with dyslexia process information, an understanding that she said was “unpredictable” across industries. .

“The main reason we have a problem is that a lot of the things we measure in education and employment use standardized tests that have been the same for decades. Dyslexic people don’t have standardized minds; we process information differently, which is very valuable once we enter the workforce, ”he said.

TO report Produced by the charity with consultancy EY suggested that some of the thinking skills that people with dyslexia tend to be especially strong at include complex problem solving, empathy, communication, and critical thinking. These are becoming increasingly valued in the workplace, as artificial intelligence and machine learning mean more routine tasks are being automated, the authors said.


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