Employers asked to think differently this Disability Action Week 2021
Published Thursday, 09 December, 2021 at 01:04 PM
Minister for Seniors and Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Craig Crawford
Queensland employers are urged to open their minds and think differently about hiring people living with disability.
School administration officer Emma Sellars, who has autism, believes it takes all kinds of minds to have a diverse workforce.
“Neurodiversity is not a barrier to success,” Ms Sellars, 23, said.
“Employers are sometimes hesitant to hire neurodiverse people because we are a bit different.
“We are adaptable people, we can bring new things to the table, and do great things with a little bit of support.”
Neurodiversity refers to the natural variation in human wiring like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia – up to 20 per cent of the population are neurodiverse.
Disability Services Minister Craig Crawford said this year's Disability Action Week, ending on Saturday, is an opportunity for employers to think differently about how they find and employ the right person for their business.
“We know that Queensland businesses are seeking staff in a wide range of industries,’’ Mr Crawford said.
“We know that all employers want to take on people who have the right skills and training, are hard-working, loyal and dedicated to their work.
“It’s fitting we recognise that people living with disability are great employees and that inclusive recruitment and hiring practices are smart business.”
Mr Crawford said the Palaszczuk Government’s Disability Action Week campaign is Employment diversity— Open up to opportunity.
“The campaign is designed to help employers overcome perceived barriers to employing people with disability, encouraging them to consider the possibilities, access support and make a plan to increase their workforce diversity,” he said
On Friday, the Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) will host a special event with keynote speaker Dr Dinesh Palipana and its 2021 Emerging Leader graduates on how to change the system.
Mr Crawford also congratulated the Queensland Department of Education for developing the world-leading pilot program called ‘All Kinds of Minds’ which helped Ms Sellars find employment.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the award-winning program was a key part of the Palaszczuk Government’s push for workplace diversity.
“This strategy is ensuring the valuable skills of neurodiverse employees are given the opportunity to shine,’’ Mrs Grace said.
“The pilot saw the introduction of practical assessments of candidates’ problem-solving skills and their ability to work collaboratively in team environments.
“Beyond initial recruitment, the department’s ‘All Kinds of Minds’ (AKOM) team has an ongoing support system in place, with new recruits offered a Neurosmart Mentor, regular meetings with an AKOM team member, and manager and team training for the new employee’s colleagues.
“Fifty neurodiverse candidates applied for various roles, with nine securing ongoing positions with the department and the benefits they have brought to the workplace are immense.”
For more information on the All Kinds of Minds program visit www.qed.qld.au/working-with-us/current-vacancies/neurodiversity-pilot
The Disability Action Week campaign website at www.qld.gov.au/daw highlights the many benefits of a diverse workforce with videos featuring employment experts and people with disability, as well as pathways to information and support for employers.
Media contact: Peter Michael 0477 948 091