Did you know that if you have a disability in Australia, you are more than twice as likely to be unemployed? It’s a pretty shocking statistic, but there’s a movement brewing that’s looking to change this. It’s called the Inclusive Employment Movement, and it’s something that Endeavour Foundation is proud to be part of.
Our very own Alex Baker went along to a breakfast event to find out more.
Alex: 1 in 5 Australians have a disability. Unfortunately for us, we are far underrepresented in the workforce. In fact, people with disability are 4 times more likely to be unemployed. It’s something that the Inclusive Employment Movement is looking to change. The movement started with a group of people who saw a need. Scott Horton was one of them.
Scott: We all came together and we said ‘right, we need to create awareness of people with a disability and trying to gain meaningful employment. People who embrace, truly embrace diversity and inclusion, really everyone wins from that.
Alex: Maddie is one of my colleagues in open employment.
[To Maddie] So what would be your message to an organisation that doesn’t yet hire someone with disability, Maddie?
Maddie: I think everyone who has a disability should have a chance to work in open employment because everyone has different strengths and everyone has different talents so it would be awesome to bring more people with intellectual disability.
Alex: Oh that’s a real powerful message.
Not only is diversity often the right thing to do, my other colleague Steve says it makes good business sense.
Steve: It’s demonstrated again and again that those organisation that have more diverse and inclusive workplaces are actually more productive and more profitable and deliver more value for the customers and the shareholders and so on. So it’s very strong.
Alex: I went along to an Inclusive Employment Movement event to talk to people about what people with disability can bring to the workplace. Here’s what some of them had to say.
Tracey: So I think the biggest benefit is that you bring the whole person to the job.
Karen: To me it’s a bit of a no-brainer. You get the best outcomes in any organisation if you have as much diversity of thinking as you can.
Andrew: It’s just good for business and it’s good for the community as well.
Sean: It’s really important that across our workforce it is really representative of our community and of our customer base, so it makes sense and it’s also good for our business.
Alex: You beauty, that’s a cracker of an answer.
Maddie’s top tips: 5 ways to make your workplace more accessible to people with disability
Maddie is someone with intellectual disability who works in open employment. You might have noticed her in the video. She wanted to put together some tips on how you can help make your workplace disability friendly. The below is in her words.
1. Give people a chance with a disability to work in open employment
By giving people a chance you are giving them a good opportunity. Everyone has skills but lots of people with disability don’t get to use them in certain tasks. If you don’t give someone a chance you will never know how talented they are and they might even feel left out. It would be very hard for people with disability to find a job and get a job offer so you might be able to help them by giving them a chance.
2. Try and make sure that people are nice to them on their first day
It can be hard to start a new job, but it is good when people are friendly and kind. When people are nice it can help when you are nervous on your first day. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what a job is going to be like before you start so it’s good if you feel happy and welcomed.
I always like to make new friends and meet people from different backgrounds. When someone is friendly it makes me feel happy and excited when people are caring and polite. Having a good sense of humour is also really nice.
3. Making sure they have all the training they need
Training happens from the beginning and also while they are working. If you don’t train people they might make a lot of mistakes, and depending on which industries it’s not good to make mistakes. You might make a customer angry or someone might get an injury. Training shows you all the procedures like what not to do, the correct way to do it. It helps people to do a good job in their work.
One on one meetings are also a good idea because it helps you to see what you can improve in and what you are already good at.
4. Making sure everything is physically accessible.
Accessible means that it’s easy for people to access all the areas and also if they don’t have good motor skills or something they might need things to help. Accessibility is things like ramps, elevators, lifts, easy to find locations and a plan on how they can get here.
5. Find their strengths and give even more opportunities
People with disability will surprise the high bosses with what they can do and what they are talented at. We can be confident, social butterflies that love to have friends and we can be so good at our work.
Everyone is individual and they can show you what they are good at or what they are successful at doing. We can succeed in our careers and show our true selves.
If you find what someone’s good at, the employee will be happy because they know that they are talented and good at it.
If you give people opportunities it makes them feel really good inside and like they belong. Trying new tasks and meeting new people makes work a better place.