Open­ing doors to more em­ploy­ment

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News -

MARK Bo­ere­bach knows too well the dis­crim­i­na­tion faced by peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity when try­ing to get a job.

He has been job hunt­ing since fin­ish­ing high school al­most 30 years ago and is of­ten left with noth­ing in his bank ac­count af­ter pay­ing his bills.

He has a vi­sion im­pair­ment and Asperger’s syn­drome, and says he rou­tinely faces dis­crim­i­na­tion when try­ing to se­cure em­ploy­ment.

“If I was able to get paid work I’d be able to pro­vide for my­self with­out hav­ing to rely on the gov­ern­ment, live with more cer­tainty and start sav­ing for my own place,” he said.

“I would also have more so­cial con­tact and build more re­la­tion­ships, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally.

“There seems to be lit­tle un­der­stand­ing within the cor­po­rate world about Asperger syn- drome.”

Mr Bo­ere­bach’s story isn’t unique and the Aus­tralian Net­work on Dis­abil­ity ( AND) and Peo­ple with Dis­abil­ity Aus­tralia (PWDA) are call­ing on em­ploy­ers to end this dis­crim­i­na­tion and give ev­ery­one a fair go.

AND helps its mem­bers and clients to wel­come peo­ple with dis­abil­ity as em­ploy­ees, cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers and chief ex­ec­u­tive Suzanne Col­bert said many Aus­tralian em­ploy­ers were al­ready reap­ing the busi­ness ben­e­fits of em­ploy­ing peo­ple with dis­abil­ity.

“Many of our mem­bers, in­clud­ing large em­ploy­ers like West­pac, ANZ, Man­power, Tel­stra and Wool­worths, as well as gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, are mak­ing a proac­tive ef­fort to re­cruit more peo­ple with dis­abil­ity, and make their sys­tems and pro­cesses more ac­ces­si­ble” she said.

We en­cour­age em­ploy­ers to make in­clu­sion of peo­ple with dis­abil­ity a pri­or­ity area within their op­er­a­tional strat­egy,” Ms Col­bert said.

PWDA ad­vo­cacy project man­ager Sa­man­tha French said it was not just peo­ple with dis­abil­ity who ben­e­fit from em­ploy­ment, busi­nesses that em­ploy peo­ple with dis­abil­ity also ben­e­fit in many ways.

“Em­ploy­ees with dis­abil­ity have fewer work­place ac­ci­dents, make fewer Work­ers’ Com­pen­sa­tion claims, take fewer days off and have longer ten­ure than em­ploy­ees with­out dis­abil­ity,” she said.

AND’s Suzanne Col­bert.

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