Presently suffering from a combination of bird and swine flu with a side order of SARS (well, that's what it feels like) I am able to both plot, scheme and play. While playing I noticed that an average of 500 people visit this site each day - don't you just love Google analytics? I make the assumption that each of you shares an interest in the employment prospects and challenges faced by people who have a disability.
If that is the case than you are right in the middle of a very exciting time. The economy we are told is in slow decline and this is likely to be problematic for employment prospects for every Australian, not just those who face additional barriers. The next piece of information is therefore possibly going to come as a surprise - we are going 'gangbusters'! So far this year NOVA staff have assisted 160 people to start work. If that doesn't sound like many to you I want you to read it again, this time in the knowledge that last year, during a major economic boom, we managed about 350 people for the year!
How and why is this so? (Do you miss Professor Sumner Miller?)
There are a few reasons that spring to mind. First, a determined person is hard to stop. Our job seekers are very keen to participate as taxpayers - they want to work and are keen to be given an opportunity - that overcomes many barriers.
Next; NOVA has a highly skilled team of employment consultants and these days a very stable workforce. We experienced some growing pains a coupe of years ago, moving from less than 40 staff to well over a hundred. It wasn't that long ago that we recruited 20 new workers and during their training identified a need for 20 more! However, while we are still in growth and likely to continue to recruit during 2009, as a percentage of total staff, our needs are back in control. The present team have stability and our training programs are building and developing their skill base.
Third would be our employers. NOVA's experience is that business owners and managers are open to new ideas (and the concept of employment for people who have a disability is still fairly new) and ready to hear about how such individuals can add to their bottom line. The facts are that a person with a disability can make just as much profit as a person without and often bring significant additional benefits for employers. So working with NOVA staff who have access to more than 1300 motivated job seekers is a sound business decision. I know this 'hey, they'll make you a quid' thing might seem like a 'no-brainer' but there are still a lot of stereotypes and misunderstanding about disability and our experience is that we play best with modern progressive businesses and managers who have an open mind.
Finally, community awareness. For the past year or so NOVA has worked hard at promoting the overall concept of disability employment and I think we have helped not just NOVA job seekers but the community of persons with disability as a whole. Our radio advertising, newspaper projects, mail-outs, the focusonability video competition, pie-bag promo, bus advertising and general promotion of what our job seekers can achieve has significantly raised the level of awareness.
Those things are reflected in the number of new visitors we receive each day.
If that's you, we would love to hear from you; your ideas, your criticism, your experience and knowledge add to our ability to serve our clients. Both on this page and throughout NOVA's website you'll find ways to get in touch either through this blog, via email or phone - don't be shy, we need your help.
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