Cogent Skills apprentice Scarlett McCullum becomes the first wellbeing champion as part of a new initiative
Over the last 12 months, companies within our sector have seen an increase in the reporting of mental health and neurodiversity conditions prior to employment. The most significant increase was evident among younger employees.
Following the increase in reported conditions in our sector, we were keen to increase our current efforts in order to raise awareness and provide support around mental health and neurodiversity.
As part of our increased efforts, we have recently developed a ‘wellbeing champion’ initiative, to encourage outsourced Cogent Skills employees to openly share their personal experiences as part of wellbeing workshops. We are pleased to announce Scarlett McCullum is our first champion.
Scarlett was only diagnosed with Autism at age 17 after facing difficulties throughout her primary and secondary school years. Despite struggling through most lessons in school with undiagnosed Autism, Scarlett received support in chemistry and achieved excellent grades. Scarlett knew she wanted to study science after leaving school and chose to go through the apprenticeship route due to her preference for hands-on experience. Scarlett was successful in securing a Laboratory Scientist Degree Apprenticeship as a Cogent Skills employee hosted at Pfizer via our Outsourced Employment service.
We spoke to Scarlett about why she wanted to become a wellbeing champion and she said:
Autism spectrum disorder affects so many people globally and we are constantly misunderstood, raising awareness will hopefully make our lives a little more bearable especially in the work place.
Scarlett has already faced the challenge of changing the conception of autism:
I was diagnosed during my second year of the apprenticeship and I really struggled to come to terms with it, by then both my younger siblings had been diagnosed and I wanted to set an example and show them it was our ‘superpower’ not ‘weakness’
Nick Durrington, Apprenticeship & Graduate Managing Director at Cogent Skills said:
We are very grateful that Scarlett volunteered to become our first wellbeing champion. The knowledge and personal experience that Scarlett brings to this initiative will help many other people in the workforce understand her day to day challenges, and how with minimal adjustment by colleagues, real change can occur. I understand that not everyone with a neurodiversity or mental health condition will be comfortable talking about it, but please be assured you’re not on your own and support is available.
Scarlett has now developed an in-depth autism awareness presentation that combines general autism information with her personal experiences and perspective. Cogent Skills have provided Scarlett with
- Access to professional design services to ensure her presentation is visually engaging and conveys her messages as clearly as possible
- Presentation skills training to ensure she is confident to deliver her workshops
- Additional support from her account manager to ensure she has the support she needs prior to and during the workshops
We would like to thank Scarlett for the brave decision to become a wellbeing champion and acting to raise awareness around such an important topic.