Strategy to focus on employing people with disabilities

Highlighting the strengths of people with disabilities to increase employment outcomes is behind the latest Australian Government campaign.

The Australian Government, through the Department of Social Services, has developed Employ My Ability – the Disability Employment Strategy, to provide a guiding framework for governments, employers and the broader community to increase employment outcomes for people with disability.

Increasing employment of people with a disability has many benefits to employers and the community, the government maintains, which is why the title “Employ My Ability” was chosen: to highlight the strengths of people with disability.

The Strategy maintains that people with a disability, employers and other key stakeholders indicated that a focus on ability would clearly demonstrate the value people with disability bring to a workplace.

The program’s vision is for inclusive workplace cultures where people with a disability thrive in their careers.

Employ My Ability has four priority areas:

  1. Lifting employer engagement, capability and demand
  2. Building employment skills, experience and confidence of young people with disability
  3. Improving systems and services for job seekers and employers
  4. Changing community attitudes

The Strategy is Australia’s national disability policy framework, driving action at all levels of government to improve the lives of people with disability.

It focuses on employment for people with a disability through the Employment and Financial Security Outcome Area, and shows everyone has a role to play from teachers and carers to employers and governments.

This Strategy is based on a social model of disability. It recognises attitudes, practises and structures can be disabling: They can act as barriers that prevent people from fulfilling their potential and exercising their rights as equal members of the community.

This Strategy focuses on removing these barriers, so that workplaces are inclusive, and people living with disabilities can thrive in their careers.

People living with disability include, but are not restricted to, those who have long-term physical, mental, cognitive, intellectual or sensory impairments.

It also recognises people with disabilities are diverse and have different experiences, backgrounds and points of view. This diversity needs to be understood, acknowledged and celebrated, the strategy states.

Policy responses and strategies which assume the experiences and impacts of disability are the same can fail to take into account the unique needs of individuals.

Actions taken under this Strategy will put people with disability at the centre.

Actions taken under Employ My Ability will be listed in the strategy’s Employment and Community Attitudes Targeted Action Plans.

Implementation and outcomes reporting will occur through the Strategy’s reporting mechanisms.

Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the Strategy was developed in association with Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031, and is a 10-year commitment to improving employment opportunities for people living with a disability.

It puts the focus on the ability and capability of every single person, she said.

“People with a disability are enthusiastic, committed and have a good reputation as employees,” Ms Ruston said.

“This Strategy is a guiding framework for governments, employers and the broader community towards a workforce that values diverse talent and where people with disability can reach their full potential.

“The strategy’s vision is clear: we want to create inclusive workplace cultures where people with a disability thrive in their careers.

“While attitudes need to change across the whole community, this Strategy recognises that employers have a particularly powerful role to play.”

More information is available on the Australia’s Disability Strategy webpage.

For factsheets or more information on the strategy, head here.

Recent Posts

James’ Story – as told by his mum

A Cocoon House is a life transforming change