By Renee Bogatko, Image Credit – Missing Bits Productions
Employers are often on the hunt for ways to make their workplace more inclusive and diverse.
The Inclusion in Employment project aims to do just that – by finding jobs for people with disabilities.
The Canberra Business Chamber, ACT Government and ACT Inclusion Council have joined forces to help businesses who’ve employed someone with disability, to share their experiences with businesses who could benefit from doing the same.
One of the key drivers behind the Inclusion in Employment project is Cam Sullings – whose voice you would’ve no doubt heard on the radio.
Image Credit – Canberra Business Chamber (Cam Sullings: CBC Business Development Manager, Anthony Williams: Nexus Human Services, Jim Roy: Director of Michael Page Recruiting, Hugh MacWilliam: Team Administrator from Michael Page Recruiting)
In his full-time job at the Canberra Business Chamber, Cam organises Peer to Peer information sessions, which help connect businesses and give people a greater understanding of employing a person with disability.
The goal is to place 10 people with disability into 10 jobs and show businesses it can be done, with several benefits.
So far, the sessions have been well received, attracting 50 to 60 people on each occasion.
Cam hopes the project will help break the negative stigma around employing people with disability.
“The negative stigma of hiring a person with disability can be a deciding factor in why people don’t apply for a position in the first place,” he said.
“Employers see risk before benefit. There’s so much support and information that the idea of risk can be reduced.”
Cam said employing a person with disability has multiple benefits for the workplace.
“An inclusive workplace is a reflection on our changing community. Many businesses realise their customer base is not just healthy, middle aged people. They say it’s important to them that their team mirrors the people walking through their door.”
There’s been multiple success stories come out of the Inclusion in Employment project – including one involving 18-year-old Alanah, who was employed as an Events Assistant at the National Convention Centre.
Alanah’s employment came about after information was gathered and exchanged at the second Peer to Peer information session.
Alanah’s mum wrote a letter, expressing her gratitude for all those who helped make it happen.
“How the Personnel Group changes lives – my girl said to me last night ‘I’m still anxious about starting a job and working with people, but I know I can talk to Pilar, and she will support me through it. So that’s manageable. I know it will be ok.’ And that’s why I got a bit emotional – to hear that from my girl is such a change from where she’s been for so long,” she wrote.
The next Peer to Peer information session is on Thursday September 27 from 7:45 – 9am at the Canberra Business Chamber in Braddon.
It’s the final session and is free to attend. Register online today!
Do you know of a local business making strides in this area? Give them a shout out on our Facebook page!