Your chance to support AccessAbility Day

| November 21, 2017

Registrations are now open for the inaugural AccessAbility Day, a new Australian Government initiative running from the 4th to the 8th of December to bring employers and people with disability together for a day.

Research suggests that one of the biggest impediments to people with disability getting employment is that many employers have little or no experience of having a person with disability in their workplace. AccessAbility Day will offer a way for firms to make first-hand, personal contacts with disabled people without further obligation, in the hope this will encourage them to give it a go.

The event’s organisers hope that both employers and prospective employees will know more after meeting each other, with people with disabilities learning more about a particular type of work or workplace and the employer understanding what a person with disability can contribute.

“Even though more than four million Australians are living with a disability, they are greatly underrepresented in the workforce. The unemployment rate for people with disability is double the rate for Australians without disability. We must do better,” the Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services said.

“Work is important to us for many reasons. It not only provides security and independence, but also expands our social networks, gives us a sense of responsibility and self-worth and enables us to more fully contribute to society.

“Recent research from the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Network on Disability shows businesses employing people with disability consistently report competitive advantage, improved productivity and a better workplace culture”, Mrs Prentice said.

In this first year, AccessAbility Day is being piloted in several locations across Australia, including Gosford (NSW); Bunbury (WA); Hobart (TAS); Maryborough (QLD); Bundaberg (QLD); Toowoomba (QLD); Logan (QLD) and Elizabeth (SA) and Mrs Prentice encouraged local businesses and jobseekers with disability in the trial locations to participate and see the potential it can bring.

Samantha Jenkinson, Executive Director of People with Disabilities (WA), said that people with disability have many talents and strengths to suit different workplaces, which can be of great benefit to businesses.

“People with disability, such as myself, experience the world from a different perspective. They can see problems or issues from a different angle and find solutions that others wouldn’t think of. In a workplace this is a really valuable quality,” Mrs Jenkinson said.

Employers and people with disability can participate on any day in the week following the International Day of People with Disability on Sunday December 3rd. DES providers can help participating employers plan, organise and facilitate AccessAbility Day placements and interested firms should make contact through the JobAccess website or by calling 1800 464 800.

After a recent Melbourne workshop involving people with disability, employers and government representatives to discuss improving employment outcomes, the Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, underlined that ‘Employment is extremely important for both individuals and their local communities. It offers both economic security and independence, helps us connect socially with others and provides a sense of responsibility and self-worth.’

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, only 53% of people with disability of working age are employed, compared to 83% for other people, and the mid-sized sector can play its part in offering greater opportunities and unlocking this untapped potential.