panel of six speakers from the Inclusive Employment Movement addressing the audience at the inclusive workplaces seminar.
Share or print this story.
16 February 2021

Creating a movement for more inclusive workplaces.

Here at Leap in! we know many people with a disability want to find a meaningful job they love. We also know that the barriers to employment can discourage many people with diverse abilities to pursue their dreams.

That’s why together with a small group of committed businesses, we have co-founded the Inclusive Employment Movement (IEM).

Last week, the IEM founders hosted a seminar series for employers about how we can work as a community to achieve more inclusive workplaces.

Getting started on the journey.

A broad range of industries were represented at the two events including education, child care, disability services, banking, insurance and recruitment.

Leap in! co-founder and CEO Drew Kiel told the audience that while having meaningful employment was one of the most common goals for NDIS participants, there remains massive under-representation of people with a disability in our workplaces.

Drew said change would only happen if people who had the power to make decisions actively encouraged inclusiveness – from recruitment processes to job design through to building supportive workplaces. A new package of supports from the NDIS is expected to help employers broaden opportunities for people with diverse abilities and help NDIS participants get the workplace supports they need.

“The Federal Government’s Employment Assistance Fund has bought more support for employers who need to adapt their workplace and obtain accessible technology,” Drew said. “For NDIS participants who have employment-related goals, funding is now available for them to build skills and access supports that can help them in their day to day work.”

Alex and Declan share their stories.

The audience heard from people with disability who are excelling in their careers, including long-term Endeavour Foundation employee Alex Baker and Leap in! software engineer Declan Hart.

Alex, who is part of the services design team that looks after Endeavour Foundation’s industry learning and lifestyle service, encouraged businesses to give people with a disability a chance.

“Everyone has a talent, everyone has an ability, everyone has a place in the open workforce. These people have skills they can offer your business whether it is typing up a few letters or solving complex problems,” Alex said.

Declan, who is a key member of the team that built the Leap in! app invited people with diverse abilities to think about the type of contribution they wanted to make.

“We have to think a little differently about how we approach employers and the job application process by asking ourselves what can I bring to a role? How can I bring something unique to this company? Instead of putting the disability up front, highlight your different abilities and bring them up front,” he said.

Innovation and outside the box thinking.

There is overwhelming evidence that people with diverse abilities want to work, are investing in qualifications and make loyal employees who bring different perspectives to their roles.

Brisbane tech company GeoSynergy, creates software products and solves complex data problems for clients in energy, water and infrastructure. Founder Geoff Osborn shared how continued growth has been fuelled by recruiting remote-working developers living with autism.

Panellist, researcher and policy advisor, Angela Boyd said people with diverse abilities were often respected in their workplaces for their creative thinking and problem solving abilities.

“People with disabilities are the most amazing innovators because from the moment they wake up in the morning to the moment they lay down and go to sleep at night, they have to problem solve and come up with innovative and creative ways to do everyday tasks. The changing world needs more innovators in our businesses,” she said.

Have employment goals?

While change takes time, Leap in! and other IEM co-founders Troocoo, the Endeavour Foundation and Social Scaffolding will continue to advocate for inclusive employment, break down barriers and support employers to actively pursue inclusiveness.

In the meantime if you have goals related to employment in your NDIS Plan, find out more about NDIS employment related supports at https://www.leapin.com.au/ndis-employment-supports/.

We have also created a helpful resource for businesses that wish to become more inclusive at https://www.leapin.com.au/inclusive-employment/.

Leap in! can help.

Get specialist advice from our dedicated team, experienced in helping people of all ages get the most out of their NDIS Plans.

To find out more, call us on 1300 05 78 78, visit our website (online chat available) or email crew@leapin.com.au

Further Reading

Inclusive employment: Latest Leap in! ebook.

NDIS employment supports: All you need to know.

A guide to using NDIS support workers who are self-employed contractors.