Award winning series on disability and employment returns to television screens

Posted 5 years ago by Nicole Pope
The second series of Employable Me will follow the journeys of nine people with disability to finding employment [Source: ABC]
The second series of Employable Me will follow the journeys of nine people with disability to finding employment [Source: ABC]

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) award winning documentary series, following people with disability on their quest to finding meaningful employment, is returning to our television screens in April.

The second series of Employable Me will follow the journeys of nine people with disability, including autism, Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and Down syndrome to finding employment.

The participants work alongside experts, job coaches and their families to uncover their skills and talents and match the jobseekers to roles that suit their strengths.

Employable Me aims to change common misconceptions and stereotypes, encouraging society to look beyond first impressions.

Series Director Cian O’Clery says the second series will follow people with a wider range of disabilities and conditions, but ultimately the issue remains the same.

“People who are different to the norm are too often discounted by employers and not given the chance to prove their worth, or to show what unique skills and abilities they have.

“We filmed the stories of nine participants, all of them very different people with their own unique challenges and struggles trying to gain employment.

Employable Me gives our participants a voice and allows the audience to get to know them as people, not as labels.

Mr O’Clery hopes the show will provide some food for thought for all audiences.

“I hope it isn’t only employers who will think more about the value of diversity.

“From people’s differences arise great talents and valuable perspectives that have the potential to make our society richer.”

Series Producer Jenni Wilks says the feedback from the first series was “overwhelmingly positive” allowing the second series to branch out and include people with a range of other disabilities.

“The facts and figures collected by the ABC were off the scales in terms of audience response.

Employable Me is a really nice representation of very different experiences in the workplace and job hunting.

“We think the second series is equally as good. It’s very different to the first series but is equally heartwarming, with wonderful people and great stories.”

The series will follow the journeys of 20 year old Eric, who has cerebral palsy and 21 year old Jake who lives with epilepsy.

“I want people to see me before they see the disability,” Eric says.

“I’d like to get a job and help my family out as much as possible… make their lives a

little bit easier,” Jake explains.

The first series was awarded Best Factual Television Program of 2018 by the Australian Academy of Cinema Arts (AACTA) and internationally the ABC series was awarded Best Reality series in the Venice Television Awards and the Japan Media Prize of Excellence.

To create the series producers worked alongside a number of disability peak bodies including Autism Spectrum Australia, Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia, SSPA (Short Statured People Australia), Epilepsy Action Australia, Fighting Chance and Down Syndrome NSW and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Employable Me Series 2 premieres on Tuesday 9 April at 8.30pm on ABC and ABC iview.