For some people, getting a job can be as easy as being in the right place at the right time. But for others, it’s not that easy. Not because they aren’t capable workers, but because they’re not given a chance because they have a disability.
Many businesses don’t yet see the benefit of hiring a person with a disability. But some Canberra businesses are leading the way, proving there’s a place for everyone in the work force.
Known for their delicious baked treats sold at shopping centre stalls across the capital, Krofne’s purpose is to create employment opportunities for teenagers and adults with special needs. While some people doubt their capabilities, Founder Danijela says her workers are extremely loyal, they strengthen morale, and they build strong connections to customers.
Like other job seekers, Danijela says “many people with disabilities have valuable skills, qualifications and experience” and above all, “they want to and can work”.
She believes businesses should recognise disability as a source of diversity, talent and innovation. “It’s time Australian businesses become more inclusive and accepting that people with disabilities can and want to contribute to our community. The tools and supports businesses need for employing people with disabilities are available.”
One local business committing to an inclusive workplace is Lennock Volkswagen, through the employment of Jay…
Dealer Principal Peter Munday took a chance on Jay despite his disability, after hearing of his struggles from his Nan, Melita.
Since Jay started with the dealership, Peter says “The morale definitely has lifted. He’s someone we just look forward to coming into work.”
He says Jay has not only created a close bond with him, but with most of the staff. “I’ve always worked with a really close team and he’s integrated fantastically”. “We’ve really struggled the last couple of months with COVID, not having Jay even here.”
Melita says Jay’s employment has also had a major impact on him, with the team teaching and guiding him. “Honestly, he’s become a young man, he’s really grown since being here”. Whether he’s improving his literacy or learning more areas of work, Jay continues to exceed people’s expectations.
“When he started here, just over 12 months ago, you would never have thought that Jay would have the ability to even get his L’s or his license. And through a lot of support from friends and colleagues, we’ve been able to get Jay his L plates. And that was the most joyous moment for me”, says Peter.
Another local business seeing the benefits is On the Grind Canberra…
While the business gets back on track with new regulations from the pandemic, Owner Fiona says her two employees with a disability, Tessa and Eli, are her most valuable employees.
“Restocking of fridges, emptying of bins & cleaning of tables are sometimes difficult for us to action immediately, however having a staff member to do these roles specifically is so important to keeping my business going”.
As well as giving independence to Tessa and Eli and benefitting their families, Fiona says their employment brightens the atmosphere in the store and has showed the team new ways of doing things.
“We are constantly learning, and as much as it has had its challenges so far, nothing is unachievable”. “These guys can’t get jobs as easily, yet what they can contribute to a business is amazing”.
So, why not hire a person with a disability?
These businesses say it creates a positive mindset, demonstrates a commitment to equality and makes a business more attractive to customers, employees and other businesses.
Perhaps now is the time to start being a part of the solution.
To find out more, visit https://disabilityemployment.org.au/provider-search/act/