Prentice seeks an innovative approach to disability employment
Today, the Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, visited The Heights School in Adelaide, to see the Dandelion Work Experience Program in action. The program is a six week course for students with autism to work on software development projects in partnership with Hewlett Packard.
Mrs Prentice said the Dandelion Work Experience Program is an inspiring example of how employers can engage with people with disability and help them prepare for the workforce.
“More than 13 per cent of people who are of working age have a disability. However, only 53 per cent are participating in work compared with 83 per cent of people without disability. This needs to change,” she said.
“There is a lot that employers can learn from Hewlett Packard and other businesses that are being innovative in helping people with disability gain employment.”
Mrs Prentice is consulting with employers across the country to hear first-hand, their experiences and understand what approaches have worked for their businesses.
“Employers have told us they want to employ people with disability within their workforce, but often lack the resources and knowledge about how to engage with this reliable and talented cohort of people,” she said.
“I am also asking employers for feedback about what support they need. We will be looking at what works, why, and what is translatable to other business models.
“Having the opportunity to meet with businesses and organisations that have developed strategies or processes to employ people with disability will provide the Australian Government with valuable insights.
“Consultation with employers will commence in the coming weeks.”
For information and support with employing people with disability in the workplace, visit the JobAccess website at www.jobaccess.gov.au.