by Noah Callan | AAC and Technology Co-ordinator – Kids+

Being employed and working is a part of life. We all need to earn a living, and this enables us to support the life we want to live and to follow our dreams. Working also gives us a sense of self-worth and I have found work that adds value and meaning to be the most beneficial.

However, we all know, it can be a rough road for someone to be given the necessary opportunities to gather the skills needed to sustain a job and, to work at all. This can be even more of a challenge when you have a disability.

Did you know there are 2.1 million Australians of working age with a disability?

And that just below half are employed (47.8%), compared with 80.3% of people without disability.* To me, as someone who has a significant physical disability, I feel saddened and disappointed to see that companies do not feel that people with disabilities are worth hiring. Did you know that people with disability take 61.5% longer to gain full-time employment? Also, some companies who hire a person with a disability don’t even pay them the minimum wage. This is wrong and a genuine injustice for the disability community. I would say to anyone in these companies to not be hasty. Before you judge a disabled person, especially one who is trying to seek work, spend some time getting to know them. An employer might be surprised at what they can do, they may be able to bring another skill set to the organisation, and another perspective. Another benefit is the diversity and inclusiveness it creates in the workplace. Some employees may otherwise never of come into close contact with someone with a disability before. It helps to breakdown barriers and the stigma around disability. Employees can start to understand that people who have a disability are actually not really that different and where possible want to be treated like everyone else. And we need to see change!

Check out the following statistics.

2018 data demonstrates that only 53.4% of people with disability were in the labour force, compared with 84.1 % of people without disability. That’s not good enough!