Earlier this month we launched a call to action on disability employment in the Victorian Public Service.
People with disability are under-represented in our workplaces. While people with disability make up 9% of the Victorian workforce, they only make up 3.6% of Victorian public service employees and 2.6% of employees across the whole Victorian public sector.
Through Getting to work: the Victorian public sector disability employment action plan 2018–2025, the Victorian Public Service is committed to lifting representation of people with disability in our workplaces to 6% by 2020 and 12% by 2025. Departments and agencies need to take decisive action if these targets are to be met.
“To be fair and inclusive employers who set the standard for others, we need to do more,” said Julia Griffith, VPSC Deputy Commissioner and Chair of the Deputy Secretary Disability Champions Roundtable.
“Getting to work is a collective commitment to action. Everyone has a role to play. It’s not only about recruitment. People with disability seek successful careers, with development and progression opportunities.”
Getting to work focuses on what employers can do to remove barriers to employment, rather than what a person can or can’t do because of their disability. The onus is on us all to identify barriers in our environment.
“We must check that our facilities provide fair access. We must examine whether our processes or decisions are affected by biases and preconceived ideas. When we find these barriers, we must take action to remove them.”
“A supportive work environment starts with adjustments,” says Julia. “Asking employees what changes are needed to their working environment or work arrangements increases job satisfaction and employee engagement.”
“Small actions such as holding interviews in a quiet space, ensuring documents are accessible, providing mentoring, encouraging flexible work arrangements and scheduling team events in a venue where everyone is comfortable, create a culture of inclusion.”
“We know that people with disability have a wide range of skills, expertise and perspectives that are important to making good policies and delivering great services for Victorians. It is important we have a workforce that reflects the diversity in our community.”
Getting to work was developed in close consultation with the Enablers Network, the public sector’s network for people with disability. Matthew Parker, Senior Adviser for the Enablers Network, said the group are throwing their support behind the renewed call for action.
“We welcome the campaign driving awareness of the Getting to work action plan and look forward to seeing progress across the Victorian Public Service,” said Matthew. “We are optimistic that by working together we can achieve the targets and create a better experience for employees with disability.”