Employ Autism – Q&A with Network Forecasting Support Intern Oaken Travis

TalkTalk has recently completed the work experience programme we have been running in partnership with both Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and Ambitious about Autism. The programme was designed to give university students who have an autism diagnosis the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience in the field they are interested in.

We had five students join us in various roles across our Tech & Security teams for a period of eight weeks, working in areas from Security to Network Forecasting, Technical Engineering and Service Performance.

Oaken Travis, one of our interns who joined the Network Forecasting team, told us all about how he found his time with us. Oaken studies Computer Science at MMU and has ambitions to pursue a career in Software Engineering.

Oaken, how would you describe your time at TalkTalk?

My time at TalkTalk was fast-paced, fun and incredibly educational, as I was working hard from the first day.

What did you work on during your placement?

During my internship, I created a script to check that interfaces were being set up with correct naming conventions and to ensure all legacy interfaces have been updated to use the latest agreed naming conventions.

What did you enjoy most about your time here at TalkTalk?

I enjoyed being able to develop code as part of a company, instead of only developing projects for myself and working with a team. Writing code as part of a team gave me a different perspective, as I had to make sure I understood the needs of my team and how to fulfil those.

How has this placement benefited you, your studies and your future career?

I think this placement has benefited me since it’s given me real software engineering experience and experience working in a team environment. I especially think that I’ve benefited from having to hand over the project to my team members and make sure that they understand how to use and modify my work.

What do you think you’ve been able to show your manager, team and business about the power of autistic minds in the workplace?

I hope that I was able to show my team and the business that autistic people can thrive in the workplace and our difference in thinking can be a huge benefit.

Equality and Future Talent Manager, Sam Davys, oversaw the work experience programme and supported the interns whilst they were with us. She added: “It’s great when you see the benefit that these kind of placements have – both for the student and the business. Oaken’s clearly learned a lot and has been a massive asset to the team during his time here.”

Alison Braithwaite, Oaken’s manager during his internship, added: “Our team really benefitted from Oaken joining us. He brought new skills into our group allowing us to learn from him, as well as him from us.”

You can find out more about the Employ Autism programme and express your interest here.