Dyslexic thinking skills are mission critical for protecting the country
By Sarah Wood
For anyone who has ever felt that dyslexia has held them back, maybe they were just in the wrong industry.
It turns out the Cheltenham-based GCHQ really rates dyslexics' skills. It has often been said that dyslexics make brilliant spies, and GCHQ staff members have spoken to Made by Dyslexia's D.Spot vodcast (video podcast) about the unique skills dyslexia brings to it mission to keep the UK safe.
Jo Cavan, a senior GCHQ director, and two dyslexic intelligence officers explored the dyslexic strengths that make them ideal analysts for the modern era. Strengths include pattern recognition when dealing with big data, seeing the bigger picture when considering complex future scenarios and finding solutions to novel and challenging problems.
Kate Griggs, Made By Dyslexia's founder and host of the D.Spot, said: "The impact of dyslexia on keeping us safe as a nation is rarely discussed. It's fantastic to get such a candid insight into how spies who are made by dyslexia are able to use their dyslexic thinking skills to perform such important work."
Active dyslexic member of staff, Charlotte (not her real name), featured on the D.Spot. She said: "I'm often looking through a lot of data and I find that my dyslexia helps me to see the bigger picture and spot patterns that aren't always obvious to everyone else around me. I also find that my approach to finding solutions is very different."
Speaking on the vodcast, Jo Cavan, GCHQ's director of strategy, policy and engagement, said the organisation has a high proportion of dyslexic apprentices: "We're committed to recruiting people with dyslexia and other neurodiverse individuals into the organisation. We are about three or four times more likely to have apprentices with dyslexia than on other apprenticeship schemes. It's mission critical for us, and since our inception we have looked to hire individuals who are neurodiverse, and as a result we have a thriving community of colleagues that think differently."
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