Update from the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC)
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Disability and employment: the secret to success?

 Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted.
 - David Bly

It’s easy to slip into thinking that there’s a magic silver bullet for success in most things. Maybe if we can just find that secret ingredient, or do something in just the right way, or meet the right person, then everything will fall into place and things will just 'happen' effortlessly and easily. All too often, though, (and much to our disappointment!) we find that the ‘secret ingredient’ is no secret at all: what’s required is work and a focused effort. And perhaps even more important, the equally unglamorous quality of perseverance. 

Taking one step, then the next, then the next; placing one foot after another: it’s not exciting, it’s not sexy, but it gets things done, and it’s what most success is founded on.

Regular readers of this newsletter know that partnerships are also a huge part of the solution when it comes to supporting Australian employers succeed with their disability employment goals. This month we look at these in action, along with other great ideas to help you persevere...step by step. 
Enjoy the read. 
Lucy Macali
General Manager, NDRC

Business Council of Australia logo

Business Council of Australia: Recognising  Ability


Chief Executive of Business Council of Australia (BCA) Jennifer Westacott says that it is absolutely vital for the Australian economy that employers provide meaningful and rewarding job opportunities for people with disability.
In October, the BCA launched its report Recognising Ability: Business and the Employment of People with Disability which looks at the role business can play in driving greater workforce participation and inclusion for people with disability. 

NDRC General Manager, Lucy Macali, sat on the BCA’s expert reference group which provided guidance and advice into the development of the report.

Employing people with disability makes sound business sense. “For companies and businesses, it means a diversity of their labour market, it means access to talent,” says Ms Westacott. “For our country as a whole, it means productivity.”

With 47.5% of all working age people with disability in 2012 not in the workforce, businesses are missing out on an enormous pool of talent. 

“The biggest challenge we face is workforce participation and making sure that we maximise the participation of all Australians,” says Ms Westacott.

“The benefits to businesses are manyfold. What businesses across Australia want is diverse talent, and if we’re taking out 1 in 5 Australians, and we’re not providing 1 in 5 Australians with a job opportunity, we are not tapping into the best people in this country.”

It’s pretty simple really. Diversity and accessibility are good for business.

For a video outlining the benefits of employing people with disability, the full report and a link summarising some key findings from the report click here.
multi coloured image of diverse crowd

Opening the doors to diversity in the public service


Shane is a public servant in Canberra. He works as a Business Support Officer at one of the Attorney General’s portfolio agencies (the agency). In this role he helps to ensure that administrative support runs smoothly, so the 500-plus staff of the national criminal intelligence agency can carry out their important work.
A few years ago though, it was a very different story.

The impact of a serious accident left Shane thinking his career was over. However, thanks to a partnership between the agency, the NDRC, and local Disability Employment Service, LEAD ACT, Shane now plays a valued role in the public service again, helping to maintain the quality of the agency's internal services.

After initially testing the water as a volunteer, Shane started work as a part-time officer at the agency in August 2015. Having a support person from LEAD on site made a big difference, especially in the early weeks. Shane’s capacity and skills are improving all the time, says Tim, his manager – a reminder that employment can play an important part in rehabilitation when someone has a disability.

‘Shane adds a unique element to our team,’ says Tim. ‘He’s a great reminder of the importance of diversity to our organisational culture and his presence is highly valued. Shane inspires those around him through his ongoing commitment to his work and his efforts are greatly appreciated. We’re excited about having him in the office on a more regular basis.’

Employing Shane has made a difference to the organisation too.

‘The decision to employ Shane was a big step for the agency as well as for him,’ says Elyse, HR Officer. ‘It was important for us to prepare responsibly by managing the expectations of other staff as well as Shane, to anticipate any issues which might arise, and to ensure his role was supervised in a way that was sensitive as well as ensuring tasks were carried out efficiently. This has been a valuable preparation to position us to employ other people who live with disability.’

The NDRC partnership has played an integral part of this organisation-wide change, with advice on disability-friendly recruitment processes, provision of the NDRC Employer ToolKit and factsheets, and plans to implement a ‘train-the-trainer’ disability awareness program.

‘This is about more than one person,’ says Elyse. ‘Thanks to Shane and our work with the NDRC, we are far better prepared to open the doors to diversity in the future as suitable positions become available.’

To find out how NDRC can help your business, visit JobAccessemail us or call us on 1800 464 800
blackboard with the words 'think outside the box'

Try a new idea: creating specific opportunities for those that might not 'fit the mould'

If you are thinking your company is already pretty disability friendly and confident, why not consider what you might do to build on your approach even further?  
Thinking outside the box when it comes to considering roles for some people with disability could be a great place to start. 

While most organisations have standardised position descriptions for roles, there are often additional work or tasks that sit outside of these roles. These may be the tasks that don’t easily fit under one umbrella, or possibly be the tasks that no one ever seems to have time for: the jobs that no one ever gets around to doing.

Your local Disability Employment Service may approach you to discuss employment opportunities where a specific role is created for a person with disability to complete some of these tasks for you. Being open to such opportunities and being prepared to take an innovative approach may offer someone with significant barriers an opportunity to work for you. And in return, you will get a committed and valued employee who gets those tasks done.

Adjustments may be as simple as being flexible within an existing job role. Customising a position is a great opportunity to give an experienced staff member more responsibility while allowing a person with disability to work to their strengths as they acquire further skills and experience.

For further information and ideas that might be right for your workplace have a chat with a  JobAccess adviser call 1800 464 800

JobAccess is an Australian Government initiative providing a free information and advice service, offering practical workplace solutions for people with disability and their employers, a one-stop-shop for disability employment advice and support.
International Day of People with Disability logo

International Day of People with Disability: what are you doing to get ready?


Take a look at the IDPWD website for loads of ideas on how to celebrate on December 3, an internationally significant day. There are tips on how to plan and prepare for an event, how to register it online and ways to promote it. It will tell you how to get hold of celebratory material such as balloons, posters, bookmarks and ‘twibbons’.

There’s also a mouth-watering recipe for tasty treats from celebrity chef Matt Preston to help you celebrate. Mmm, Chocolate Muffins with Salty Caramel Centres anyone?
the words 'working out' in rainbow colors

WorkingOUT: supporting members of the LGBTIQ community with disability 

Congratulations to Disability Service provider SensWide Employment which last month won the 2015 GLOBE Community ANZ Excellence in Business Award for its program WorkingOUT.
WorkingOUT is a program which focuses on employment inclusion for the LGBTIQ community.

In the past year, SensWide Employment placed sixty LGBTIQ participants into employment. It also assisted thirty-one job seekers to access vocational education and training to fill skills gaps or prepare for new career starts through the WorkingOUT program. 

WorkingOUT is the only Commonwealth funded employment service provider nationwide catering to the LGBTIQ community.

A great achievement by the team at SensWide: helping things work out for its jobseekers. Well done!
People walking on zebra crossing using white canes

International White Cane Day Oct 2015

More than half people with vision loss who use a white cane report that they have experienced negative comments or behaviours while using their white cane in the community.
Much of this negativity arises from a lack of understanding around and awareness of the fact that 90% of people with vision loss still have some limited vision that may allow them to do certain things, for example, to read a menu in bright light, but who still need a white cane to navigate around the community.

For tips on ‘white cane etiquette’, and for more information on vision loss click here
Assistance Dogs Australia logo

Assistance Dogs Australia Awareness Week Nov 22-28

Assistance Dogs Australia trains Labradors and Golden Retrievers to perform everyday tasks for people with disability such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, autism, and mental health conditions.
Assistance Dogs increase independence, reduce reliance on human caregivers and act as a great ice-breaker to help overcome social isolation. Each dog takes two years to train at a cost of $27,000 and are placed free of charge to people who need them.  

More information, including on how to sponsor a puppy click here
NDRC An Australian Government Initiative logo

Welcome new NDRC Partners


We would like to acknowledge the following employers that recently joined as partners of the NDRC – welcome aboard! 
When it comes to building Australian businesses' disability confidence, the NDRC team firmly believes the more the merrier! 
  • Deloitte
  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection SA
  • University of Southern Queensland
If you would like to join our growing list of partners and ensure you are accessing the broader talent pool that people with disability represents, email us or call us on 1800 464 800

Our partners

Vikings Group
Penrith City Council
City of Greater Bendigo
Lavan Legal
Prudential Investment Company of Australia (PICA)
Australian Red Cross
Teachers Federation Health
MEGT (Australia) Ltd.
City of Stirling
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
City of Melbourne
Adelaide Hills Council
Renewal SA
Department of Justice NSW
Maroondah City Council
Super Retail Group
Haigh's Chocolate
Ernst & Young
Department for Child Protection & Family Support -WA
Sydney Local Health District
Hays Recruitment
James Cook University

Lifestyle Solutions
State Library of Queensland

Cummins Inc.
Allianz Assistance
Department of Communities, Child Safety & Disability Services
Microsoft Australia
Queensland Rail
Spotless Group Ltd
Maitland City Council
Ashfield Council
Canon Australia
Bank Australia (prev. Bankmecu)
Department of Health and Human Services Victoria

Tatts Group
Australian Red Cross Blood Service VIC
Federation University Australia
Foodco Group
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research

University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins

Department of Immigration and Border Protection SA
University of Southern Queensland


Our alumni

Active Monash

Anglicare WA
Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM)
Australia Post
Australian Taxation Office
Ballarat YMCA
Bankstown City Council

City of Whittlesea
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Crown Resorts
Deakin University
Delaware North
Department of Defence
EW Tipping Foundation
Holroyd City Council
Jewish Care


Knox City Council
Mercer Australia

Mercy Health

Port Stephens Council

St John of God Health Care
Sutherland Shire Council
Town of Port Hedland

Woollahra Municipal Council
Woolworths Ltd

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For more information about disability employment, contact the NDRC at:
Phone: 1800 464 800

Mailing address: Level 19, 60 Albert Road SOUTH MELBOURNE VIC 3205 
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