MIVB hires the autistic for systems analysis Photo: the electronic-access doors in de Brussels' metro. The Brussels public transport authority MIVB has contracted members of an Antwerp workshop that have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for intensive IT checking work, taking advantage of their unique attention to detail and ability to focus. Passwerk, based in the Berchem district, specialises in putting people with ASD into software testing jobs such as system tests, user acceptance tests and regression tests, as well as quality assurance assignments (user instruction manuals, data and text migration, etc). Passwerk is a social cooperative, and in 2010 distributed profits of €50,000 among six beneficiaries, including the Flemish Autism Association and the Centre for Family and Orthopaedagogics, which works with learning-disabled children. The Passworkers, as they are called, are all normally to highly gifted on the ASD scale, which allows them to take on the complexities of a task and use their specific skills, such as a structured approach to work, perseverance and pattern thinking. The new electronic-access doors at metro stations in Brussels were one of the projects taken on by Passwerk, whose workers tested the software as well as the chip cards that operate the doors. “Their work is of very high quality, and everyone is extremely happy with the four Passworkers who are working with us,” said Kris Lauwers, deputy CEO of MIVB. The Flemish government, too, was happy with Passwerk’s performance on a project involving study scholarships. The project “was principally about handling simple dossiers automatically, without the interference of a file handler,” said Marleen Deputter, head of the scholarships department at the Flemish education ministry. “The Passwerk workers turned out to be wizards in drawing up test scenarios. They made test scenarios of complex business processes for automatic file handling. We had hoped to get the work done in three weeks, but they managed it in one.” www.passwerk.be