This year’s theme is ‘Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world’. COVID-19 has highlighted the gaps and challenges that still exist for people with disability. It’s given us the opportunity to rethink accessibility and be more inclusive in all that we do.
The United Nations urges us to continue prioritising people with disabilities as we move through, and out of, the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Disability inclusion will result in a COVID-19 response and recovery that better serves everyone, more fully suppressing the virus, as well as building back better. It will provide for more agile systems capable of responding to complex situations, reaching the furthest behind first.”
At CoAct, we’re always talking about the importance of inclusion and accessibility – because everyone should have the opportunity to participate. Every day, we see the benefits of sustained, meaningful employment. We see it in our own workplace, with almost one in five of our employees identifying as having a disability. We see it in the community, too, with one in three jobseekers we help identifying as having a disability.
CoAct’s National Operations Manager for Disability Employment Services, Nyssa DeWaard, says that tailored, flexible support from people who understand and genuinely care makes a huge difference in creating long term success for jobseekers.
“Our approach is to take the time to get to know each jobseeker and understand their skills, interests and needs. We want to know what they’re passionate about, help them map out a plan to achieve their goals and build a trusting relationship.
“We also work with employers to understand their unique needs and identify skills gaps. By offering employment solutions for their industry challenges, we can help them futureproof their business.”
In celebration of IDPwD, we’re looking back at some of our awesome jobseekers who have recently found success in work while navigating pandemic life. Together with their CoAct recruitment partners and employers, they’ve overcome their perceived barriers and landed a job that’s right for them. Here’s what they said:
Lochlan, Ayr QLD
I’m working with my: Epilepsy
In my job as a: Retail assistant
“My epilepsy means I have frequent seizures, almost daily. I have a lot of restrictions and side effects so need help all the time.
Now I work flexible hours in a job I love. My employer and colleagues have had training so they know how to support me and my condition.”
Deslee, Rockhampton QLD
I’m working with my: Intellectual disability and high anxiety
In my job as a: Customer service
“My anxiety made me afraid of starting a new job.
Now I serve customers in rush hour.”
Natasha, Rockhampton QLD
I’m working with my: Depression, anxiety, PTSD
In my job as a: Retail assistant
“I found it hard to manage my stress and felt like I was not in control.
Now I’ve built my confidence, developed my skills and gained a promotion at work.”
Austin, Canberra ACT
I’m working with my: Autism
In my job as a: Second year apprentice chef
“Meeting new people is not easy for me, I get nervous.
But it only took me a few weeks into my job to feel comfortable and find my feet.”
Peter, Cannonvale QLD
I’m working with my: Arthritis
In my job as a: Baker
“My arthritis made it hard for me to do certain jobs. I lost a lot of belief in myself, which impacted my mental health. I thought I was never going to work again.
Now I feel in control and much happier. I’ve got the right support to manage my fatigue and pain, and I’m exceling at work.”
Matty, Rockhampton QLD
I’m working with my: Down syndrome
In my job as a: Cleaner and sandwich maker
“Without a job I didn’t feel part of the community.
Now my customers look forward to seeing me.”
Isaac, Frankston VIC
I’m working with my disability
In my job as a: Business trainee
“I didn’t have much confidence or know what I wanted to do, I thought I’d take any job.
Now I have permanent secure work, a defined training path and heaps more confidence.”
Angus, Rockhampton QLD
I’m working with my: Intellectual disability and autism
In my job as a: Cook
“My ADHD made many jobs feel out of reach.
Now I train our new recruits.”
Everyone can take a step to make our community more accessible and inclusive so that everyone has the opportunity to participate. Even the smallest actions can have a big impact for people with disability.