Creating employment pathways for people with a disability

Thanks to your donations, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) are increasing employment opportunities retention of staff and improve access for customers who have a disability by building the capacity of Geelong region businesses to become more welcoming, confident and accessible of people with disabilities.

A $29,820 Grant from the Give Where You Live Foundation allows the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) to build the confidence and provides practical support to small businesses to welcome people with disability as customers and employees, recognising that 1 in 5 Australians have a disability. People with disability are twice as likely to be unemployed, compared to people without disability; a figure which is often higher in regional areas including Geelong.

Our BIG Program Partner, Derbyshire Homes have embraced this and as a result have given an opportunity to Alex.

Having completed his VCAL with GTEC and experiences Asperger’s, Alex was happy to commence a one day a week work placement cleaning up data on Derbyshire’s estimating software.

“This was a job our estimator had not been able to get to for two years, so it was fantastic to have Alex take care of it. He’s a good worker; super-fast getting through the detail and with great IT skills. We needed to send him home an hour early in one of the weeks because he’d completed all the work. We made sure we had more for him to do the following week!’ says owner Peter Derbyshire.

Derbyshire were keen to pay Alex more than the required amount for work experience and gave him a glowing reference. His teacher Linda noted, ‘Alex was nervous about the last few weeks before graduation with his school load and working priority, but he knuckled down and got everything done. The work photo is taken on the day of his graduation; you can see how proud he is to be contributing in a professional work environment.”

AFDO has supported 60 businesses to make a range of improvements, from improving accessibility for customers and employees, to improving mental health and wellbeing, creating new job opportunities, work experience and changing wording in job advertisements to be more friendly.