Unemployment is a pressing issue in Australia, and people with disability are a challenging part of that issue. A report by the Australian Network on Disability(AND) found 9.4% of people with disability are currently unemployed, which is more than double the national average.
It is estimated that over 77,000 people with disability are able and looking for work.
Common reasons businesses use for not hiring a person with disability include fear of impact on colleagues, or the public and fear of extra associated costs. But becoming disability confident not only promotes diversity and inclusivity within an organisation, it also benefits company culture and productivity.
Compass Group Australia, a leading food and services company, made the commitment to employ 20 people with disability in NSW by July 2017. Their mission was made possible through the High Growth Jobs Talented Candidates(HGJTC) initiative.
The HGJTC initiative is delivered by AND in partnership with Social Ventures Australia (SVA), and funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. It works with eight employers and three Disability Employment Service (DES) providers including Compass Group and MAX Employment. The program matches skilled workers with disability with supportive employers who are looking for candidates to fill roles in high growth areas. The aim is to create sustainable employment by matching the right candidate to the right role and provide employers the confidence to recruit and retain staff with disability.
December 2016 saw six MAX Employment job seekers start new careers with Compass Group.
One of the successful candidates, Kara-Lee, shone throughout the program. MAX worked with Kara-Lee to determine her vocational goals and understand her interests, in order to secure work that best highlighted her strengths in customer service and hospitality.
“I love it here. All Compass people are helpful showing us how to be more professional. It was really exciting to learn new skills and meet the new people I’d be working with.”
Toni Wren, HGJTC Project Manager from AND said it was MAX Employment’s willingness to embrace a new way of working with employers that led to such a successful initiative.
“Throughout our engagement with MAX Employment their willingness to embrace an employer-led approach has been very pleasing. This approach has led to stronger job matches and higher retention outcomes.”
“Erin Carey [MAX Employment National Disability Employer Engagement Manager] and the MAX Employment Employer Business Centre Manager have both embraced the employer-led approach that the initiative is based on and recognised the investment required to build relationships with employers to demonstrate that candidates with disability can be valuable members of the team.”
Compass Group Diversity Projects Coordinator Natasha Caflisch says she is most impressed by the standard of service provided by the MAX Disability Employer Engagement team.
“I am very specific on the standard of post placement support I expect of the DES Providers we work with, particularly for the participant but also for our managers. The MAX team has met my expectation for both parties, they have been very proactive, supportive and informative to all our teams engaged in this project.”
“The MAX team took a genuine interest in our complex business and I feel they have successfully partnered with our teams and understand our needs. I’d also like to say all MAX employees involved in this project have presented the highest level of professionalism in circumstances they may never have faced before.”
More and more businesses including Accor Hotels and IAG are making similar commitments with the consultative approach of the HGJTC initiative and providing opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise exist for people with disability.
Read more on the benefits of hiring a person with disability. To find out how MAX Employment can help you recruit your newest team member please contact us via our general enquiries form or phone your nearest site on 1800 625 350.
Image caption: Compass Group's new employee Kara-Lee with NSW Minister for Disability Services, John Ajaka.
 Australian Safety and Compensation Council, 2007, Are People with Disability at Risk at Work? A Review of the Evidence, ASCC, Canberra, Du Paul University 2007 and Graffam J, Shinkfield A, Smith K and Polzin, U 2002, Employer benefits and costs of employing a person with a disability, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 17, no. 4, p. 251-263.
 Graffam,J., Shinkfield, A., Smith,K., & Polzin, U. (1998). Making it work; Employer outcomes when employing a person with a disability. Melbourne; Institute of Disability Studies, Deakin University.