About us

Making the workforce work for you, for them, for us

our purpose

What we do and why

The workforce of 2023 is markedly different from predecessors. More and more people identify themselves as neurodiverse, and a growing concern exists about mental health worldwide. The rudimentary facts say it all:

According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 5 of the global workforce are neurodiverse. And yet, reports show that only 2 in 5 of these individuals are in employment. At a time when talent is in short supply, a staggering proportion of the available workforce is sitting on the sidelines as older generations are forced to work for longer. Something has to change.

The UWI is a social enterprise. We believe the ultimate solution to diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace is to engineer positive habits and behaviours that bring equality for all. The neurodiverse community should be included in this effort.

Our ambition and mission is to create great work and great futures for the following generations by building a community of people set on creating the universal workforce. We invite you to join us in that endeavour.

As a social enterprise, we seek profit only to reinvest in incentives and tools that help drive social change.

Our focus topics:


What does a strategy for implementing the universal workforce look like?


How do DE&I leaders remodel the culture, behaviours, systems and processes of the enterprise to foster inclusivity in workforce operations?


How do organisations achieve a step change in worker wellbeing and tackle the challenges of having a large neurodiverse population?


Designing a recruitment approach and system to attract and retain diverse talent, including neurodiverse candidates.


How can organisations adopt habits that sustain effective operations while embracing neuroinclusivity and DE&I best practices?



How do organisations measure and review their progress and set a course to constant learning and improvement to their workforce?

our mission

Great work, great tomorrows

Our mission is to help organisations develop a Universal Workforce – a workforce that inspires and builds self-esteem, that embraces diversity, equality and inclusion:

  • One that sees neurodiversity as an asset, not a disorder.
  • One that inspires humanity to better itself and work together to solve societal challenges.
  • One community, no matter if workers are internal or external, remote or in the office, fixed, flexible or freelance.


We partner with the best

We don’t claim to be experts in the various key topics of what goes into making a universal workforce, but we are bringing together a community of people who are making a difference by sharing ideas, innovations, and experiences—to build a great workforce, and great tomorrows.

We figured there needs to be an organisation that cares enough to steer that change. That’s what the Universal Workforce Institute (UWI) is about.

Supported by a large and growing community of blue-chip organisations, not-for-profits (NFPs), ambassadors and advocates, we exist for the betterment of society through a more healthy, productive, inclusive, rewarding and supportive workforce.


We make change happen

The UWI offers a supportive ecosystem to encourage the evolution of best practice and knowledge sharing on the subject of attracting and managing a universal workforce. We help work seekers find the right roles, and employers/hirers to adapt their habits, technologies and processes to embrace a diverse workforce. 


How, not what

Here at the UWI, we focus our energy on answering the big question of how can business leaders create the mindset, positive habits, behaviours, tools and methods to nurture and maintain a high performing workforce that can adapt to market forces while optimising outcomes for all stakeholders. We believe in the power of starting somewhere, to make a difference by sharing and innovating ideas—engagement that leads to outcomes.

Our chosen charity

The UWI invests much of its profits into developing the universal workforce through research projects, investment into revolutionary technology platforms, and community projects. Sometimes, it’s the small things that matter. That’s why our chosen charity is Hertford based Mudlarks, which supports young people and adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues, helping them take a full and active role in the community, and lead more fulfilling lives. All payments go straight back into helping Mudlarks continue the meaningful work they do. Visit the only vegetarian and vegan cafe in Hertford, England – and meet the people! They sell great coffee too!



Responsible business

As a certified social enterprise, the UWI is committed to conducting operations in a manner that prioritises sustainability, ethical practices, and society as a whole.

We believe that a responsible business should embody five essential principles for long-term sustainable performance:

Social Enterprise Business for good badge

1. Purposeful Performance:

We operate in alignment with a purpose that serves society, respects the dignity of people, and generates a fair return for responsible investors. We invite public scrutiny of our actions to ensure transparency and accountability.

2. Honesty and Fairness:

Building lasting relationships with our customers and suppliers is paramount. We prioritise honesty, providing quality products and services that are safe for our customers. We treat our suppliers fairly, paying them promptly and expecting the same in return. Sharing knowledge openly empowers our customers and suppliers to make informed choices.

3. Responsible Employment:

We treat every individual with dignity and ensure fair pay for all. We encourage constructive dialogue to ensure our actions remain aligned with our purpose. We foster innovation, leadership, and personal accountability within our workforce, nurturing an environment where everyone can learn, contribute, and thrive.

4. Good Citizenship:

We consider the impact of our decisions on every person as if they were members of our own community. We actively seek and provide opportunities for less privileged individuals. By structuring our business and operations responsibly, we ensure the prompt payment of all properly due taxes, making a full and fair contribution to society.

5. Guardianship for the Future:

We recognise our duty to protect the natural world and conserve finite resources. We contribute our knowledge and experience to promote better regulations that benefit society as a whole, prioritising the common good over self-interest. Furthermore, we invest in developing skills, knowledge, and understanding in wider society to foster informed citizenship.

Our team

The UWI operates a series of regional chapters around the world, with each steered by advocates and ambassadors who help make the workforce better for businesses, governments, workers, society and the planet. Our core team consists of passionate individuals, and over half of us are neurodiverse.

Founded by Ian C. Tomlin, the UWI is transitioning to become a Social Enterprise over the next 12-months, having received seed funding from a number of private sector sponsors.

Ian C. Tomlin

Managing Director

Ian is a serial entrepreneur. He self diagnosed his own autism having experienced the consulting intervention of his son. One aspect of Ian’s neurodiversity (or so his colleagues say) is his ability to concentrate for very long periods of time—helpful if you write business books and fiction. He leads a talented team of (largely neurodiverse) individuals and knows, through first hand experience, the behavioural changes needed to make diverse teams work.

Erica Birtles

Marketing Officer

Erica is a passionate millennial woman of words. When not driving the marketing and events agenda for the UWI, she reads, writes, runs a book blog and helps authors find their audience. If that’s not enough, Erica is an academic and follows her passion as an art historian whenever she gets the opportunity.

Eve Bluma

Creative Design and Editorial Officer

While English is not Eve’s first language, you would never know it. Eve uses her gift of words to the UWI’s content publications, websites and community articles. Additionally, Eve is a creative dynamo through and through—which is why she also heads up our creative team. Eve has ADD and is on the autism spectrum.

Mason Alexander Tomlin

Digital Officer

Mason was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome after leaving education. Since then, he has actively sought to change hearts and minds about how business leaders and society should see neurodiverse people. Mason sometimes finds it hard not to speak his mind. Guitars are his special interest, he's a songwriter and designs new guitar concepts in his spare time.

Jake Ellis

Senior Consultant, Strategist, Analyst and Researcher

The only person we’ve interviewed that wanted a job to get out of Coventry, Jake is a historian who turned his head to business research and strategy, only to find out he was good at it. A great team always needs someone with an eye for detail to patiently cross t’s and dot I’s and get the job done. It’s this character trait that encourages everyone to throw the difficult jobs in Jake’s direction. Nevertheless, while his career might’ve flourished, Jake still lives in Coventry!

Discover how you can embrace a neurodiverse workforce today