Specialisterne Canada

Add Specialisterne to your job search strategy

If you're a neurodiverse individual who has experienced challenges with traditional job recruitment practices like interviews and face-to-face networking, despite your academic accomplishments, you may be eligible to participate in Specialisterne's program.

Specialisterne Canada and the University of Waterloo are working together to provide new job search opportunities to students with neurodiversity. Read more about the program below.

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity is a term describing different kinds of human brains and minds. For the purpose of this program, this includes individuals on the autism spectrum disorder, ADHD/ADD, mental health disabilities, PDD-NOS, OCD, learning disabilities and other similar ways of being.

Specialisterne can help

Employers are always looking for new ways to find skilled candidates. Specialisterne works with employers who have an interest in diversifying their workforce and expanding their talent pools to include those who may think and solve problems differently.

Using a specialized recruitment model, Specialisterne offers a new avenue to co-op and full-time employment. Standard recruitment models tend to filter out most people on the autism spectrum or those who identify with other neurodiversities. Specialisterne's model does not involve the traditional employer-student interview. Instead, it identifies and emphasizes the strengths and capabilities of the student to better communicate their qualifications to potential employers.

As with any job search, there is more than one path to employment. The University of Waterloo recommends including Specialisterne as part of your wider job search. Students who participate in Specialisterne's bridging program for either co-op, summer, or full-time employment are encouraged to continue using WaterlooWorks and other recruitment channels in addition to Specialisterne.

Are you a graduating student or alumni? Learn about new job opportunities offered through Specialisterne.

Are you a current student? Learn more about current co-op job opportunities.

Participate in the program

1. Register

  • Register for Specialisterne’s program by completing an online employment questionnaire that helps Specialisterne get to know you.
  • Specialisterne will contact and invite you to attend a workshop.
  • Specialisterne will be accepting participants into the workshop on a first-come first-serve basis. We recommend registering as soon as possible.

2. Complete an employment workshop

Adult presenter speaking to a bunch of students in a classroom

  • Participate in a six-hour workshop with other students on campus. It includes hands-on activities in a relaxed setting.
  • Gain insight into your strengths as Specialisterne gets to know you and your motivations, skills and interests. 
  • Learn about the obligations of employers in Ontario and discuss disclosure options when looking for work.
  • As a result of this workshop, Specialisterne creates a personalized Employment Profile that summarizes your strengths and skills.

3. Access employment opportunities

  • Review available positions offered through Specialisterne and apply to the positions of interest. These positions are available to all students registered with Specialisterne Canada.
  • Employers are provided with the Employment Profiles of the student applicants to make their hiring decision.
  • If matched with an employer, a Specialisterne job coach will work with you and the employer in using tools and strategies to facilitate a rewarding, productive and comfortable work experience.

Privacy

Your involvement with Specialisterne will not be identified on official university records, including WaterlooWorks. Specialisterne is committed to protecting your privacy and will only share personal information with your consent. See Specialisterne's privacy statement for more information.


For more information about this program, please contact Andrew Brunet (ceca.accessability@uwaterloo.ca).

For more information about the co-op process in general, please contact your student advisor.