OPINION: People with disability deserve work that suits their skills

A thought-provoking opinion piece has been released about a promising Cross Sector project underway at PwC’s Skills for Australia; improving the inclusion of people with disability in work and vocational education and training (VET).

Published in The Australian and written by the Chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) John Pollaers, the article highlights the barriers faced by those with disability in the workplace.

Using his own nephew’s struggle as an example, Mr Pollaers has called on business and industry to work together in an effort to remove these challenges.

“By not giving people with disability the opportunity to work and contribute fully to society, we are letting them down,” Mr Pollaers said.

“Being more confident about employing people with disability can bring many benefits to a business. Among other things, a diverse workforce that reflects the make-up of the general population can lead to new ideas, a stronger and more inclusive workplace culture, and a better understanding of the diverse needs of customers and suppliers.

“More broadly, businesses have a social responsibility to give people with disability the opportunity to participate in work. Businesses, especially larger companies, can and should do more. As well as increasing the social wellbeing of the individuals involved, there are significant benefits to the national economy, for instance by reducing reliance on welfare.”

Only half of working-age Australians with disability are currently in the labour force, compared to 83 per cent of those without disability.

PwC’s Skills for Australia is working with the AISC to connect government and industry. The aim is to form disability-related units that can be used across training packages, thereby improving the chances of people with disability to acquire and retain jobs.

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