Autism and Asperger awareness training for staff at EDF energy

Customer service staff working for EDF Energy have been trained in how to spot signs of autism and Asperger Syndrome in telephone conversations with customers.

The training from the Essex Autistic Society focused on advising staff about the best ways to communicate with customers who have the conditions.

Janie Buckingham, training and recruitment manager at EDF’s Ipswich site, which undertook the programme, said: “This training will enable us to give some of our most vulnerable customers the sort of advice and support they need.

“It’s really important that we can recognise the different needs of our customers and this training has really helped in this area.”

According to the charity, it is the first time it has been invited by a business to train staff.

Director of adult services Ian Brown said: “Staff have learned what to look out for, and to be aware of the subtleties of the language they use. They know to ask the customer ‘open and shut’ questions, rather than leaving room for any ambiguity – because a person with Asperger Syndrome will answer very literally, which could be misleading.”

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