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Curtin’s Autism Academy wins prestigious national award

Media release

The Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) at Curtin University has won a prestigious national award from the Business/Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) for its efforts to harness and recognise the special talents and dedication of young people living with autism.

AASQA Founder and Director Professor Tele Tan receives his award from BHERT President Susan Bannigan.

The annual BHERT Awards recognise the importance of business-university partnerships in innovation, research and development, and teaching.

AASQA Founder and Director Professor Tele Tan, from Curtin’s School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, was presented with the award for an Outstanding Collaboration for National Benefit at the BHERT Gala Dinner in Melbourne last night.

AASQA was launched in 2015 and provides high-level expertise and services in assessment, training, education and work placements for people with autism in the software testing industry.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated AASQA and its partner organisations for working together to make a positive difference to the lives of young people on the autism spectrum.

“AASQA provides attractive career paths for students with autism by enhancing their software development capabilities and I am delighted its tremendous efforts have been recognised with a BHERT Award for its impactful and influential collaborations,” Professor Terry said.

“AASQA takes an innovative approach that involves local and international research and a network of collaborators to achieve the important goal of improving young lives by helping secure work in the field of IT.”

Professor Tan said he was incredibly proud that AASQA’s achievements had been rewarded with such a high-profile national accolade.

“AASQA now takes 160 high school, vocational and undergraduate students on the autism spectrum, supported by about 55 volunteer mentors, and trains them in coding, automation, software quality assurance and work experience,” Professor Tan said.

“AASQA has raised over $1.1 million in funding, reflecting the very positive contribution it makes to society.

“The application of vocational and university skills to this talented group of young people creates long-term benefits to them and to the industry employing their talents.”

AASQA is a collaboration between Curtin’s School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Health Sciences and has partnerships with BHP, Bankwest, Deloitte, Planit Testing, rerisk Pty Ltd, ACS Foundation, Department of Training and Workforce Development, Autism Association of WA, Autism West, Therapy Focus, CoderDojo WA, AASQA@Kalgoorlie, Willetton Senior High School, the Ian Potter Foundation, Bennelong Foundation and the Rotary Club of Willetton.

More information about the AASQA can be found at https://research.curtin.edu.au/projects-expertise/institutes-centres/autism/

More information about BHERT is available at http://www.bhertawards.com/.