The new disability employment program will be co-signed and implemented by the Commonwealth Government and the Australian Business Council (BCA) in response to recommendations made at the Jobs and Skills Summit last September.
The government will invest $3.3 million in this pilot program to provide people with disabilities with greater employment outcomes and post-hiring development and advancement opportunities.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Richworth said the government also wants to try new ways of creating cultural change within businesses to better support people with disabilities.
“There are 2.1 million working-age Australians with disabilities, but only 53.4% are in the labor force,” said Minister Rishworth.
“We also know that 93% of people with disabilities who are of working age struggle to find work because there is no suitable employment and the perceived limitations of their disability.
“This new employment pilot aims to address this and bring significant benefits to people with disabilities, employers and businesses, the economy and the wider community.”
The Government and BCA have already held workshops with key employers’ groups and disability employment experts to identify challenges and begin planning employment pilot programs.
Richworth says it creates programs that can create an inclusive, safe and supportive work culture in which people with disabilities can thrive and achieve their career aspirations.
BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott says businesses must do their part to create safe workplaces so that people with disabilities have every chance to succeed. I admit that
Westacott said expanding opportunities will require a community-wide approach.
“Collaboration between government and business is essential to shifting the dials and providing better opportunities for all Australians,” said Ms Westacott.
“Members of the Business Council are already innovating to create a more inclusive workforce because that is how we attract top talent in a tight job market. It helps them do more to tear down structural barriers.”
Employment opportunities for people with disabilities have been a government focus since the Jobs and Skills Summit after Australia of the Year. Dylan Alcott giving an impassioned speech.
Alcott said the time for change was “yesterday” and that people with disabilities deserve careers and leadership positions.
“I don’t want to scare you, but we need your seat too,” Alcott said last September.
“I think we deserve the opportunity to thrive. [in] that [position] As a result, it makes our economy better. ”
“And it’s not just about getting us to our doorstep. It’s about creating a safe workplace once we get there. Safe from discrimination, safe from unconscious bias, safe from abuse, safe from neglect.”
The announcement of the pilot program comes just weeks after the government began investigating. Inaccurate Disability Employment Services (DES) Star Rating
The inaccurate star rating was attributed to a coding error and has been temporarily suspended until it is fixed.
SMEs taking the initiative
Not all companies are waiting for new pilot programs to create inclusive workplaces for staff with disabilities. All Things Equal, a café in Melbourne, currently employs 25 people with disabilities.
All Things Equal was launched in 2021 after Jonathan Wenig decided to take the initiative to provide meaningful employment opportunities for his daughter with disabilities once she graduates from school.
Mr. Wenig founded a charity, established a board of directors, and donated much of his money to an initial pool of $200,000 that was used to open the cafe.
After starting with 12 people with disabilities, that number has doubled, with about 60 people on the waiting list.
Not only did it provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities, but it also provided opportunities to learn new skills and take on new roles.
An All Things Equal employee, Paul first worked in the kitchen before serving customers and making a variety of foods and drinks, including milkshakes, smoothies, and toasted sandwiches.
“I love it. I enjoy this job, it teaches me an independent life and makes me happy.” Paul told the Guardian.
“Every day is like a party,” says his colleague Harley, who enjoys creating a positive atmosphere for both customers and kitchen staff.
Bianca Stern, general manager (GM) of All Things Equal, told The Guardian that people with disabilities are ready, willing and absolutely capable to work hard.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities who want to work, but they are often overlooked,” says Stern.
“Maybe as a society we are not educated enough to understand the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and what we need to do to be inclusive employers. increase.
“We hope to slowly change that.”
Stern said he hopes other companies will follow suit and recognize that they can do their part by taking the initiative in hiring people with disabilities.