Employers Pathways to Employment
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Recruit People with a Disability
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There are 4 major employment pathways for employers to recruit people with a disability (PWD) into a role within your organisation. Each have merit and each pathway should be matched up with the individual job seeker’s abilities and job goals. Disability Employment Service Providers (DES)  can support a business through each step and provide ongoing resourcing and advise to the employer and employee. The support from a DES provider is free, as they are funded by the federal government.

Work Experience

Employers are keen to see work experience on a young person’s resume. People with a disability experience significantly reduced access to casual jobs and work experience whilst at school, which sets them at an additional disadvantage to those without a disability who have had work experience opportunities. 

Work experience gives a job seeker an unpaid, time limited period in a position with support, so as to be successful. It is focused on building a person’s skills, confidence and readiness to enter employment. Case Study: Ned.

Your business will benefit by hosting work experience. You get an enthusiastic and supported worker for a negotiated period. You, your staff and your customers can experience the joy and satisfaction of giving an opportunity to someone with a disability to engage in the employment market. You have an ability to gauge if the employment of the person will work for you without having a long term commitment. This in-turn may develop your business’s disability awareness and confidence to consider employment of a PWD.

Your business is supported through this entire experience by a Disability Employment provider, who will help you choose, train and support the PWD. To provide work experience, contact a local DES provider or a NDIS service provider. Your DES provider will work with you to find the right person for your business. Click here for more information.

Traineeships and apprenticeships

The lack of work experience is further impacted by limited access to training and further education for school leavers. A traineeship is a pathway to assist a PWD into the job market. A traineeship is a partnership between a registered training organisation, a workplace, and a trainee. It provides for trainees to gain a qualification while working on a job that allows practical application of theory and the development of skills.

Employers partner with a DES provider who will support them to identify roles, advertise and recruit for the position, as well as provide ongoing support to the trainee and employer across the entire traineeship. Case Study: Jaclyn

Trainees will be undertaking a relevant vocational qualification in tandem with on the job training. Qualifications can range from a Certificate II through to a Diploma covering traditional trades, community services, administration and hospitality industries.

Apprenticeship pathways for people with a disability and DES providers.

Open Employment

People with disabilities compete for jobs with their job application and resume and are interviewed in an open and competitive process.

Although many people with a disability do become employed through open employment the barriers of discrimination and unconscious bias of employers can make it much more difficult to access employment in this way. A DES provider can work with the applicant with a disability and tailor their resume to the needs of the job and assist with preparation for an interview. A DES worker can provide you the business owner with a short list of candidates and assist with arranging interviews. DES provider can help navigate issues of disclosure of disability, any workplace adjustments needed, and can provide financial incentive to support the employment situation. Case Study: Barry

Personalised job opportunities and job customisation

Your DES provider will help you identify roles and tasks that could be carried out by a new worker with a disability who might not be able to complete the whole of a job function but would do well at parts of a job. The DES provider will match the strengths and skills of the potential worker with a disability with the identified job role. They will also help you access government subsidies and funding to support this initiative. Examples of this in practice are a person with horticulture skills who can weed and mow, but cannot drive between jobs, or a café worker who can work front of house, but not work the till.

Addressing the barriers to inclusive employment
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People with a disability make excellent employees but are often overlooked for employment opportunities. There are common barriers that can make it difficult for people with disabilities to make to the selection stage of interviews or make it difficult for them to be included in their work place once they are employed. Understanding these common barriers will help employers to identify how to improve inclusion in the workplace.

Included in this section are some of the societal barriers that people with a disability experience. This knowledge will support employers to better understand their employees and reinforces the role that every employer can play in creating a more inclusive society.

Disability awareness

Employers and staff members often do not understand disability. They might immediately think about wheelchairs and the problems associated with access when disability is mentioned, but not realise that it also is referring to someone who is blind, deaf or has an invisible disability like autism. When an employer hears disability and thinks ‘wheelchair’ they are unlikely to shortlist that person for a job that requires driving or lifting, and the individual who was completely capable of doing the job misses out.

Unconscious bias

An example of unconscious bias is employers making assumptions that someone cannot do a job well or will not be able to work at the same level or speed as a non-disabled colleague based on what they believe to be true about people with a disability.

Where there is bias (conscious or unconscious) in the workplace, employers recruit, promote, allocate work, and manage performance with filters on their thinking.

“We cannot change what we do not see or acknowledge, but we can change conscious attitudes and beliefs” More Information.

Unconscious bias in the workplace can mean:

  • Talented people are left out of the workforce or not allowed equal opportunity for development and career progression
  • Diverse voices aren’t heard in meetings or able to contribute to decision making
  • The workplace culture is not genuinely demonstrating inclusive principles
  • Employees are not able to fully contribute to their organisation

An employer can manage unconscious bias in the workplace by providing training and information sessions that question biases and challenge cultural norms and promotes awareness of disability. See the resource page for ideas.

Physical access

Inaccessible workplaces, limited transport options, inflexible recruitment procedures and working arrangements all impact on a PWD ability to apply, succeed and retain employment.

Inaccessible workplaces can be seen as a reason not to employ someone with a disability due to the cost involved in making them accessible, however research shows managers significantly over-estimate these costs.   Making a workplace more accessible could be as simple as installing handrails in a bathroom, or rearranging furniture to enable better access.

The additional benefit of making workplaces accessible may also be beneficial to customers and all other staff – for example ramps at a front door instead of steps makes the workplace more accessible for a person with a pram or with small children as well as someone using crutches, a walking frame or a wheelchair.

Conduct an accessibility audit of your premises to identify the barriers to inclusion and implement the solutions. Click here

  • Talented people are left out of the workforce or not allowed equal opportunity for development and career progression
  • Diverse voices aren’t heard in meetings or able to contribute to decision making
  • The workplace culture is not genuinely demonstrating inclusive principles
  • Employees are not able to fully contribute to their organisation

An employer can manage unconscious bias in the workplace by providing training and information sessions that question biases and challenge cultural norms and promotes awareness of disability. See the resource page for ideas.

Workplace Adjustments

Many people with disability can do the same role as a non-disabled colleague. They might need some adjustments made to complete their tasks which can be as simple as a headset for phones, a tablet instead of a desktop computer or a sit/stand desk. These adjustments are available and relatively easy to implement, and there is government funding available to assist with these minor adjustments and accommodations.

Look at this list of the most common workplace adjustments and employer supports

Have a read of the of most commonly requested workplace adjustments and identify if your business is able to accommodate them. This will support you to be comfortable in asking staff members in an interview if they require adjustments to help them deliver their role and support any staff member who asks for adjustments as their role progresses.

Recruitment Procedures

Some methods of recruitment do not offer equal opportunities for people with disabilities. For example, position descriptions are not written in inclusive language, and do not explain adequately what can be provided to potential employees who may have a disability. Click here for some ideas

To make recruitment processes more accessible you can offer:

  • Position description discussions via phone/email
  • Extra assistance such as Auslan interpreters to attend an interview
  • Interview questions made available prior to interview
  • Offer a work trial as an alternative to an interview.
  • Workplace adjustments (see above)

Discrimination

Employers may not realise that treating a person with a disability less fairly than person without a disability is discrimination. Statistics identify that 19% of people with disability aged 15-24 years have experienced discrimination, and in almost half of those instances, the source of discrimination was the employer.

  • Position description discussions via phone/email
  • Extra assistance such as Auslan interpreters to attend an interview
  • Interview questions made available prior to interview
  • Offer a work trial as an alternative to an interview.
  • Workplace adjustments (see above)

Contact Inclusive Towns
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Register your retail business as an accessible business for people with a disability

Become an Inclusive Employer
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Why Become an Inclusive Employer
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There are lots of reasons to become an inclusive employer, some businesses are keen to diversify their workforce for the added life experience and skill set their employees will bring, others are interested in having an organisation that better reflects and can understand their customers, whatever your reasons, inclusive employment is good for business.

Good for your Business
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Inclusive employment is good for your businesses because you are likely to:

Equality and Equity
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Most businesses would consider themselves an equal opportunities employer. However, as you can see from the picture below equality doesn’t always mean everyone has equal access.

Equality vs Equity

There are systemic barriers for people with a disability accessing employment. These include:

For businesses to provide equal opportunities, they must first be equitable, and every employer has a role to play in creating a more inclusive society.

Contact Inclusive Towns
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Register your retail business as an accessible business for people with a disability