“Just good practice” – Government moves on disability employment
The Australian government has addressed growing concerns relating to unemployment of people with a disability this week, releasing a comprehensive employer toolkit.
The online resource provides employers with a number of simple, straightforward videos, downloadable content and real-life case studies, covering the full employment process from initial interviewing through to workplace specific adjustments.
Sarah Henderson, assistant minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services said that by making hiring processes more inclusive, employers can access a previously untapped pool of talent.
“The Employer Toolkit will empower employers to give the one million Australians with disability looking for work, the same opportunity as everyone else – to demonstrate that they are capable, reliable and above all, employable,” Henderson said.
Created as part of the Employ Their Ability campaign, the toolkit focuses on small to medium-sized businesses, which were identified to be the most lacking in disability representation.
“These resources are specifically designed to be user-friendly so time-poor, corporate professionals can quickly access and absorb the practical information to assist them navigate disability employment,” Henderson said.
“Our goal is to create awareness and let all employers know that support is available. The Employer Toolkit is there to help.”
Multi-unit McDonald’s franchisees, Gavin and Raylee McLeod agreed that while challenging at first, having a diverse workforce is more than just social enterprise, it’s good business.
“We’re lucky to own profitable restaurants so it’s important to give back, this is just something that we’ve chosen to be our focus,” Raylee said.
“Your customers appreciate that you’ve helped somebody get a job and try and find a solution for someone who has a disability. Customers have proven to us over time that they would prefer to come to us over businesses because of it. It’s just good practice from a corporate responsibility point of view.”
The McLeods operate six McDonald’s restaurants across the NSW Central Coast, employing 1100 staff, more than 12 per cent of which are people with a disability, which has been made all the more easy with the support of Job Centre trainer Ash Mackinnon.
“Ash has been so important for support, especially if it’s the first time you’ve done it,” Raylee said.
Mackinnon agreed that most of concerns raised by prospective employers could be solved with education, with the new toolkit serving as a great step forward.
“We like the term “Focus on their ability, not on their disability” and you know it’s true. We have things that don’t work out as well, but it’s better to try,” Mackinnon said.
The Employer Toolkit is available online through JobAccess, the Australian Government’s national hub for disability employment information and advice.