New campaign set to break down employment barriers

Tags Education Accessibility Mental Health Employment

Posted 2 months ago by Nicole Pope

Remove the Barrier addresses the invisible barriers of unconscious bias and discrimination faced by one in five million Australians living with disability [Source: Supplied]
Remove the Barrier addresses the invisible barriers of unconscious bias and discrimination faced by one in five million Australians living with disability [Source: Supplied]

A new campaign launched by the Dylan Alcott Foundation is set to break down the barriers people with disability face in finding and maintaining employment.

Remove the Barrier addresses the unconscious bias and discrimination faced by one in five million Australians living with disability, with only 54 percent of people with disability currently employed. 

The Dylan Alcott Foundation has found that 90 percent of employees with disability record productivity rates equal or greater than other workers and 66 percent of organisations who employ people with disabilities identify positive benefits, such as strengthened workplace morale, improved skill set, greater customer satisfaction and improved productivity. 

Founder of the Dylan Alcott Foundation, Dylan Alcott, says, “When people with disability look for work, it’s often what we don’t see that is the biggest barrier, that of unconscious bias.

“This invisible barrier is at the core of the campaign and is what The Dylan Alcott Foundation and the young people with disability involved in the campaign are asking businesses and individuals to remove.

“The Dylan Alcott Foundation decided it was time to raise awareness of unemployment among people with disability and change perceptions of what they can achieve in the workplace.”

The campaign includes a powerful film created in collaboration with advertising agency, BWM Dentsu that follows three people overcoming physical and mental barriers as they prepare for their working day.

One of the stars of the campaign, 24-year-old Oliver Hunter, who is university-educated and uses a wheelchair, shares his experience of lack of accessibility and opportunity when seeking employment.

“I’d happily go into an interview and get knocked back for my lack of skills, but I’ve always felt that my disability has been the sole reason for employers turning me down,” he says.

“People with disability are fully capable of doing an office job, a supermarket or a retail shop. Just give us a go. Let us have a crack and you’ll see what we’re capable of.”

The campaign film and accompanying imagery will feature in cinemas, TV, digital and online media across Australia over the next two months.

Supporters of Mr Alcott, Nike, ANZ, NEC, Medibank and QT Melbourne, are also throwing their support behind the initiative.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at ANZ, Shayne Elliott, says communities thrive when everyone has an opportunity.

“Our role is to provide opportunity through employment and ensure our products and services are inclusive and enable every member of our communities to participate and maximise their potential. 

“We know there is still work to be done to fully include people with disability in the workplace, so we’re pleased to support The Dylan Alcott Foundation in this important campaign.”

General Manager of Nike Pacific, Ashley Reade, says the global organisation is excited to partner with The Dylan Alcott Foundation. 

“We are dedicated supporters of Dylan on the court and have enjoyed celebrating the incredible and inspiring success of Dylan as an athlete. 

“We are delighted to extend our support for Dylan off the court, for this important initiative which champions what Nike stands for; equality and inclusion,” Mr Reade says. 

Mr Alcott hopes the campaign will force employers and employees to discuss inclusion.

“I hope Remove the Barrier sparks important conversations about disability inclusion in boardrooms, shop floors and offices around the country,” he explains.

“Regardless of the fact that people with disability deserve the same rights as able-bodied people, disability inclusion is simply good business.

“They [people with disability] take eight less sick days and stay in a job one year more... if you ask me, that sounds like an awesome employee.” 

You can discover the campaign on their website (www.removethebarrier.com) and watch the film here.

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