uLaunch kicks open the door for your next job interview

Posted 10 months ago by David McManus
The uLaunch board is made up of people who know what it’s like to find work with disability. [Source: uLaunch]
The uLaunch board is made up of people who know what it’s like to find work with disability. [Source: uLaunch]

Key points:

  • uLaunch launched July 24, 2023, with the aim of providing employment opportunities to people living with disability
  • 40 percent of the specialist independent board and frontline workers of uLaunch share the lived experience of disability, chronic illness or injury
  • Joblife Employment and Joblife Disability Employment Services have launched the new platform as a paragon of possibility for people with disability, honing in on what the existing brands did best and bringing it all under one new platform


It can be hard to find work if you live with a disability, as few people may understand the burden of ableism and the preconceived notion that you aren’t qualified for the job, simply through a superficial glance. However, the inaugural launch of uLaunch on July 24 has aimed to rectify the pressures of finding independence in a world which makes it hard.

Today, the platform kicked off a new outlet to find work and support employers through streamlining recruitment for people with disability. Notably, a significant number of board and staff members live with disability and have worked to ensure that the employment process reflects their lived experience.

With 109 staff in 78 locations, uLaunch — a member of the Angus Knight Group and a collaborative effort of Joblife Employment and Joblife Disability Employment Services — is chaired by Professor Peter Shergold.

“It’s a real honour to be working alongside such a committed group of leaders. They combine unmatched experience with the right support,” Professor Shergold said.

Board member, Occupational Therapist and Paralympian Dr Lisa Chaffey said this was the first day in a never-ending journey, to put people with a disability at the forefront of every decision they make.

“Today is an important milestone in delivering quality service for people with a disability who want to find meaningful and lasting careers,” Dr Chaffey said.

“We have listened across every aspect of the sector in forming uLaunch.”

Dr Chaffey had established her passion for disability employment advocacy through years of work, championing the spirit of people leading long and fulfilling lives.

“A strict focus on quality and performance [was needed] from disability employment service providers, to our staff who are joining us from different organisations, to employers who are a huge component of what we do, and most importantly to our participants who need more than just being placed in a job,” Lisa added.

“uLaunch is the first business in this sector led by people in the boardroom and on the frontline with a disability who can genuinely understand what it’s like in their situation, so the solutions we design will be with one priority in mind — our people.”

Fellow former Paralympian Dr Paul Harpur, Associate Professor with the University of Queensland Law School and chair of the University’s Disability Inclusion Group will join Dr Chaffey in bolstering the possibilities for people with disability in the workforce.

“You simply can not design pathways to long-term sustained career outcomes for people with a disability if you have no experience living with a disability. That’s one of the key reasons I accepted the offer to join this unique company.” Dr. Harpur said.

“I want to share my experience around the board table so others in a similar situation can benefit from increased support and much better outcomes which treats participants as human beings, not a ‘tick-and-flick’ exercise which is so often the way in this industry.”

“I don’t believe there’s another organisation out there that can bring our living experience to the forefront of everything we do. Listening is [a] huge part of that. Without listening to our people, we’d be just like everyone else,” Dr. Harpur said.

uLaunch Chief Executive Officer [CEO] Karena Newland said supporting their participants to be comfortable and confident would ensure that they were more likely to succeed with their employees in the long-run.

“That’s why we have funded 60 career counselling sessions, we listened to what was needed and responded with action,” Ms. Newland said.

uLaunch will support approximately 4,000 participants in capital cities and in major regional centres across Australia per year. 

To check out the inspiring stories of uLaunch participants, keep up to date with job and service opportunities regarding disability or uplift others, check out the inaugural launch.