'As soon as an employer has experienced this once, they often become vocal advocates for supporting people with a disability'
Just one in three Australian businesses hire people with a disability, despite most claiming they were willing to do so, according to a study of over 1200 businesses by the Department of Social Services.
Tom Mangan, General Manager – Workforce Solutions at Community Solutions, said that as a Disability Employment Services his team are always working to overcome these barriers.
In particular, they’re looking for opportunities to educate employers on the benefits of employing people with a disability and the loyalty and commitment they bring to a role.
“As soon as an employer has experienced this once, they often become vocal advocates for supporting people with a disability into employment,” Mangan told HRD.
He added that there many positive effects of hiring someone with a disability: for the job seeker, employer and broader community.
“We are always looking for ways to share this message more broadly and tell the success stories of our customers and employers who experience these positive impacts,” said Mangan.
Community Solutions and CoAct were recently involved in a storytelling project which showcased seven short stories of people with a disability changing their lives through meaningful employment.
Matt Little, CEO at CoAct said The ‘Change the Story’ campaign was an opportunity to showcase why CoAct and their Service Partners exist.
He added that this year’s movies are particularly inspiring and a highlight was Bernie in Cairns’ story which is one of incredible resilience.
“A lovely, authentic person who has at times had debilitating mental health issues – finds the supportive environment she needs to thrive in the workplace,” he said.
“Bernie has so much to offer the workforce and community, she just needs an environment that gets the best out of her. Is this different to any one of us?
“With Sunbury-based Kelsey’s story, she mentions her twin sister born prematurely in the early parts of the film. It was only after meeting her that I learnt more about her similar experience and her recent success in finding the right job.”
Little added that he can’t help but think of the strength of families and friends who stand behind every success story.
“What always amazes me is this event highlights such a small selection of so many wonderful stories happening in our network every day,” he said.
“I think it’s great how each of the stories show that there’s a large support network behind every one of them, helping them to reach their goals, whatever they are.”
One of the biggest things we’re proud of with this campaign is the conversations it is opening up around disability employment, educating people around it and really engaging people in a positive way, said Little.
“We’re excited to continue the conversation and continue to change the story around disability employment.”
Mangan added that through John’s short film and the cinema events held across Queensland and Victoria, they were honoured to be a part of Change The Story.
“Change The Story provided us a platform to tell the stories of our customers, our employers and team on the ground who play a part in helping someone realise their possibilities,” he said.
“Our favourite moment is seeing John’s face light up when he is working with Wendy, his Recruitment Partner from the Gladstone Community Solutions team.
“She supported him throughout his journey and helped him see there is hope, and he has people on his side to help him get there.”