Football for all celebrates Jonathan's placement

The Football for all initiative is celebrating another success story in the shape of Kardinya man Jonathan Sands.

Football for all was launched recently by the Football Futures Foundation charity. 

A feature is an employment readiness mentoring program, with the goal of securing work placements for people with disability.


And Jonathan is one of 20 people who have found a position through the initiative.

He has secured a placement at the BHP Neurodiversity Internship Program, through the support of Autism Association of Western Australia and the Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) at Curtin University.

The 27-year-old said: “The onboarding for BHP was very informative and straightforward. 

“BHP has communicated well every step of the way. Although I am working from home, we communicate on Webex and I feel very much part of the team. I am enjoying learning technique within software testing and I look forward to continuing my internship.”

Abid Imam (Football West), Professor Tele Tan (Curtin University), Sue Bransby (Autism Association of Western Australia) and Jonathan Sands
Football West representative Abid Imam, Professor Tele Tan of Curtin University, Sue Bransby of Autism Association of Western Australia and Jonathan Sands

Foundation Programs Lead Melissa Gmeiner said: “Congratulations to Jonathan and the others on the program who have been able to secure a work placement through their hard work and dedication. It is fantastic to be able to share their stories.

“This tailored program which pairs mentees with leaders in relevant business and industry.


“Jonathan was introduced to Margaret from mentor-mentee matching company Mentorloop by his employment consultant Gail O’Dwyer, from Autism Association of WA.

“Australia’s disability strategy 2021-2031 focuses on people with disability being provided with the opportunity to find and retain meaningful work. Football for all is delighted to be able to play a part in this drive.”

Autism Association of WA Employment Consultant Ms O’Dwyer said: “The Autism Association of Western Australia have been supporting BHP interns through Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance for over five years. It is an absolute pleasure to share this journey with the interns, AASQA and staff at BHP.

“It’s great to see different organisations with such diverse businesses collaborating to achieve positive outcomes for individuals with autism. Exciting times ahead for everyone involved.”  

AASQA is an Australian first aim at supporting young people on the autism spectrum through education, training and employment pathways using a strengths-based approach. AASQA’s internship program provides a platform for businesses to realise the benefits of hiring neurodiverse employees through unconventional methods of advertising, recruitment and on-boarding.

AASQA’s Founder and Director Professor Tele Tan said: “Autistic individuals have many talents such as great attention to details, curiosity and out-of-the-box thinker. We aim to unlock these talents through our program and present them to technology companies that are struggling to find and retain their workforce.

"In order for this to work, we need to work collaboratively with partners in broad areas. Jonathan’s successful internship placement at BHP is a shining example of how the community has to get together to achieve this common objective.”

Football for all is a partnership between Football Futures Foundation and Football West, supported by Richmond Wellbeing and made possible through funding received by the Department of Social Services.


​Filed Under: Community News