Don’t tell me a secret – I am hopeless at keeping them!
However, there’s one secret that, despite my best intentions seems still to avoid common knowledge.
The secret is just how good and how effective people that have a disability can be in their employment.
And, as you’ll see, the fact that this truth is still hidden from many employers is not for lack of publicity.
But first the problem to which my secret seems an obvious solution – finding and keeping good staff.
There is no single bigger headache for any employer than finding and keeping good staff and managing the day to day matters of human resource management. Good staff are the difference between success and failure.
There is a labour and skill shortage in Australia and so you’d think employers would quickly turn to the 720,000 people that receive the disability support pension as a potential pool of talent.
That’s not always so.
We have a historical problem in Australia and I think it stems from the fact that we used to call people that have a disability, ‘invalids’.
We said it very quickly so that it didn’t sound like in-valid, because we all know that that word means worthless and, so that no-one felt bad, we tried to make ‘invalid’ (said really fast) sound somehow noble, or at least worthy of pity.
What we didn’t do was suggest that here were a group of people who, while they maybe could never do certain parts of a role (the blind make poor drivers), nevertheless possessed specific talent and ability as good as, or better than, anyone else.
The problem with treating anyone like they are made of glass, or in some other way at risk, is that once the whole group have been made objects of pity or seen as the realm of charity, it’s very difficult to suddenly decide you have a valuable resource that can be mined for profit.
Now, before anyone leaps to accuse me of exploitation, the fact of employment is simple: you make me more than you cost and you get to stick around, you don’t and you have to leave – that’s that, that’s all there is to it and sorry if you don’t agree.
NOVA employs many people that have a disability and they are amongst our best workers and, that said, I have sadly had to let people with disability go (that’s an Australian term for ‘fired’), just the same as their non-disabled peers.
However, recent research suggests the emotional angst created by the thought of how to handle a person who has a disability should their performance be below par, is a reason some employers are reluctant to hire.
Other reasons include fears of increased workers compensation costs (its compulsory in Australia for employers to contribute to a National insurance scheme for all employees and the cost of a businesses contribution is assessed against the perceived risk of the industry – all builders as opposed to an individual firm - and the organizations history of claims).
Statistics show people who have a disability are no more or less likely that their non-disabled peers to have an accident that requires workers compensation.
In fact people with a disability are just like any other employee; there are some crackers and occasionally, you’ll have a mismatch between worker ability and worker aspiration.
However, the truth of the ability and talent available to employers amongst NOVA’s job seekers is still a secret that even a blabbermouth like me just can’t make common knowledge*.
We have advertising on TV, radio, billboards, newspapers – maybe we need one of those skywriting planes – there’s been novelty advertising, our pie-bags, coffee cups – pretty much anyway you can think of to showcase the talent we have on offer and still there’s a gap between our talent and an appropriate level of demand.
So, if you have any ideas how we might promote our talent, let me know, there are contact us spots all over this website or give me a call at NOVA.
In the meantime I have a new idea – so keep watching this space.
* If you want to read some more about how much skill our job seekers have click on the EZine link on our Home Page
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Making a tough job tougher!
Making a tough job tougher
It isnt easy to get a decent job and its harder to do so if you have a disability.
NOVA employs around 190 people, an effective and experienced team who are able to draw upon a staff of highly skilled trainers and a support program honed over almost 30 years and tens of thousands of participants....
Your Work There was never any doubt in my mind that I would work. My dad told me I would work and there wasn't ever a suggestion that my future held an alternative option....
Not so bad! Taken from: Today's Guardian at 4.09pm Tuesday 7th November 2017:
In a world full of discouragement there’s always a space for good news....
The NDIS mantra is 'choice and control'
To be valuable, choice needs to be informed.
Average Sydney Disability Employment Services placement rates are 34....
It's voting time at "Focusonability" - with a record number of films entered, a tremendous effort by more than 100 High Schools and 19 countries competing in the International section it was always going to be a hard job to pick a winner....
Choice & Control
The NDIS slogans around choice and control demonstrate the importance of consumer involvement in both the choice and control of supports they need.
However, in order to be valuable, choice needs to be informed by accurate data such is this: http://www....
Last week (14-16) it was my privilege to attend the 1st World Supported Employment Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"Employment for All - A Global Perspective" brought workers from around the globe (primarily Europe) to discuss best practice in supported employment....
Quality and the Stars Quality and the Stars
There have probably been few people more openly critical of the Disability Employment Service (DES) Star Ratings than me.
The Stars, ranging from 1 to 5 are supposed to give some insight into whether a service is a poor or high performing program....
Attended the Disability Employment Australia (DEA) forum in Canberra. THis is a regular get together that offers disability employment services tha chance to be kept up to date from our funding body and also listed to expert speakers on topics associated with the goal of seeing as many people as possible find and keep suitable employment....
NOVAs greatest asset is its staff. I suspect you would struggle to find the CEO of any organisation state their staff are not vital and at the core of business reputation and results....
A corner turned?
We are presently holding events to promote employment for people with disability - nor surprise there, that's our job.
What has been a surprise is the willingness of employers to come along and listen and more importantly, to consider adopting inclusive employment practices across their organisations....
Say No to Quotas!
The pernicious idea that 'quota's' might be the solution for disability employment continue:
Faced with the daunting task of improving the number of employment outcomes with out sacrificing the quality of service delivered to people with disability how have we fared (sort of Year in Review II)?
The number of placements made has seriously improved - up 31% in 2015 and a further 14% in 2016, NOVA operates at at rate of placement better than 150% over 2014!
Whats really exciting is that this has been achieved without compromising on the level of disability that can be supported by NOVA's teams (if anything this has risen)....
Famous last words!
O.K. - sorry that you need to cut and paste: http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/100-million-payday-for-1anhour-staff-with-disabilities-20161216-gtcius....
Not sure if this will be my last blog post for 2016 but just in case, a quick look back at 2016:
Best ever year for total number of placements
Best ever year for long term employment outcomes
Best ever year for Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Best ever year for Transition to Work outcomes
Best ever year for media coverage
Best ever year for 'Focusonability'
Best ever year for Transition to Work (TTW)
How about 2017?
Looking good, so stay in touch and have a terrific holiday, be safe and hopefully Santa will bring you all that you wish for....
Choice is only of value when it's informed (written about this here previously)
I have the numbers for disability employment services (DES-ESS) up till 30th June this year and I am delighted to see that NOVA is responsible for almost 25% of all employment lasting 6 months or more (28 providers) and almost as many as next 2 providers combined....
The NDIS held out hope and promise to people with a disability, the opportunity to exercise choice and control and was heralded as the answer to the prayers of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens....
Latest 'Stars' The effectiveness of Australian Disability Employment Services is recognised through a system called the 'Star Ratings'.
6 years ago NOVA was amongst the lower performing providers in Sydney, at least as measured through the Star's,
Regular readers will be aware of my unhappiness with things that I think are important to people with disability - stuff like, wages earned, hours worked etc....
Best Show on TV Morning All
Sorry you need to cut and paste: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/802326595536/focus-on-ability-film-festival-2016
Best show on TV - bar none and, if you want to skip my bit I get off at 3:10 and you can get straight to some of the truly terrific films from this year's "Focusonability" short film festival....
Reform There is a review of Disability Employment Services and presently consideration is being given to what might best replace the current program.