Meet Jessica: From discrimination came social change
Like so many other people, there was a time when I was at home caring for my newborn, and dreading the prospect of returning to work. I wanted to find a job I could do flexibly, both to care for my kids, and to manage an anxiety disorder, post-partum thyroiditis and post traumatic stress. It should have been possible in the job I was doing, but unfortunately the minute I disclosed I had these disabilities, it all went a bit pear shaped. I no longer had work to do, and was sitting in a corner of the office facing discrimination and isolation.
I had the idea of starting a business to help other people with a disability to find the right job opportunity, it seemed wrong to me that there was no help or jobs available for people who weren’t registered with a DES provider or Centrelink. I heard lots of stories from others in my situation when I researched the issues, and the more I looked, the more I could see.
I could see that the lack of choice in finding work meant the disability employment services industry was ready for some sort of disruption, to provide choice to people. I could also see that without government funding, but with the right flexible working conditions and accessibility, using positive discrimination and accessibility brokering there was an opportunity to start something good in the world.
I also found from researching the issues that people with a disability are much more likely to stay in the job for longer, make less workers’ compensation claims, not more, that people without a disability, are just as skilled and qualified as people without a disability, and take less sick leave. The only things stopping people with a disability finding and retaining work are accessibility and attitudes.
Long story short, this idea grew into our business, Enabled Employment, which links skilled and qualified candidates with a disability with employment opportunities. All the jobs advertised on the website are from employers who want to increase their inclusion, and who are willing and ready to make any reasonable adjustments needed on the job. And we make sure they are all award rates or above, there’s absolutely no way we are going to pay our employees any less.
We have tried to make it easy and simple for employers to recruit people with a disability. After signing up with us, employers can either post available jobs to the site, or we can find the right candidates with the right skills and experience for them. Employers gain a skilled person to do the work that needs to be done, at a pre-disclosed hourly rate, and candidates get access to job opportunities, and know how much they’ll be paid up front. Enabled Employment takes care of all payroll tax, insurances, superannuation and contracts.
Our candidate database features many skilled and talented people who just happen to have a disability, and want to work from home. We look for lots of different skills, and recruit for all types of opportunities, from entry level positions to senior executive roles.
We are a small business that is growing rapidly, and we hope to achieve some social change, and that we can encourage more employers to realise the skills and qualifications of people with a disability are as varied as any other part of the Australian workforce.