Changes to Disability Employment Services provision could lead to improved employment conditions for people with disabilities. Meanwhile, one online jobsite is leading the way.
This year could mark a significant step forward for the way Australia helps people with a disability gain a foothold in the job market.
But first… imagine for one minute that you are a job-seeker who uses a wheelchair for mobility. What is the point of applying for jobs if the workplace isn’t disabled-friendly and you can’t even access their building? How would you know this from the job ad?
A simple idea generated by students at the University of Technology Sydney aims to address this problem. They have been working in collaboration with online job platform, JobGetter to allow employers to earmark job postings that offer things like office facilities with wheelchair access, or sight and audio cues.
Fiona Anson, Co-CEO of JobGetter, says the platform aims to be more inclusive for all members of the workforce. “This new feature is one way we’re hoping to move the needle on inclusion for people with a disability”.
When employers post a job on the site, they will be prompted to ask questions regarding accessibility, such as transport options for their workplace. “It helps to raise awareness among employers about their inclusion and diversity strategies,” says Anson. “Many of the big employers have I&D policies but you don’t see that reflected in job adverts.”
Communicating how organisations can become more disability-friendly is the next stage in JobGetter’s mission.
Changes to disability employment
All this is very timely as changes designed to help more people with a disability, injury or health condition find employment are due to come into force on 1 July this year.
After extensive community consultation with people with disabilities, disability service providers and employers, a new Disability Employment Services (DES) Provider panel is being set up through a grant application process to improve the DES program. As a result of the grant application process, 100 existing DES providers have been recommended to continue providing DES services across Australia, in addition to 42 new organisations.
Under the changes to the program, DES participants will have greater choice about the services they receive and how they receive them. Changes include:
- more flexible arrangements for DES participants and providers to meet and interact;
- DES participants will be able to choose their provider, removing the current market share arrangements;
- relaxing Employment Service Area restrictions for participants so they can choose to use a provider outside of their local area; and
- making it easier for participants to change providers if they are unhappy with the services they are receiving.
Currently, one of the most useful resources is available from Disability Employment Australia, set up with the express intention of bringing employers and disabled job-seekers together.
The membership based organisation has all the latest news to help employers and employees alike. Its website has a list of disability employment specialists based in each state and territory and resources to help employers attract more people with disabilities into the workforce, including a downloadable guide on how to partner with the DES.
Discover new inclusion and diversity strategies from leaders and experts at the AHRI Inclusion and Diversity Conference in Sydney on Thursday 3 May. Early bird registration closes Thursday 5 April.