Disability Action Week, running from November 25 to December 2, 2023, is a dedicated time to celebrate the invaluable contributions of Queenslanders with disabilities to our families, communities, workplaces, and economy. This year’s theme, ‘Access ignites: it’s good business,’ underscores the crucial need to enhance the employment and economic participation of people with disabilities.
The Queensland government, in line with this theme, is encouraging employers to recognise the dual benefits of fostering accessibility — not only does it improve workplace conditions for employees with disabilities, but it also proves advantageous to businesses’ bottom lines. By both recruiting and retaining staff with disabilities and ensuring their accessibility to customers living with disabilities, businesses can thrive in a more inclusive environment.
At STEPS, our commitment revolves around empowering individuals with disabilities. From assisting in employment to providing training opportunities that improve employability, we strive to advocate for accessibility at every turn. Our employment programs actively support people with disabilities, enabling them to make meaningful contributions through volunteer and employed work. Through NDIS services like Work Mates‘ job readiness training and job coaching through the Disability Employment Services, our trainers and coaches dismantle barriers, helping individuals create the lives they desire.
For the past 19 years, STEPS has proudly served as a Disability Employment Services (DES) provider, dedicated to supporting individuals in gaining and retaining jobs.
Reflecting on the positive impact of sustainable employment on DES clients, STEPS General Manager of DES Liz Leadbeater notes, “It has been a pleasure to watch the change in people’s attitudes to life and the enjoyment that comes from a weekly pay packet. We work with our clients prior to job starts to write a list of what they will be able to have through meaningful employment and what the celebration will be with the first pay. A footy game with the kids or dinner out. It’s a human right to be able to have employment, and our team has the privilege of supporting this to happen. Lives changed.”
Diversity and inclusion are fast becoming the foundation of great business in today’s world. Employers choosing to reognise and celebrate all abilities contribute to a more inclusive workplace. According to the Australian Chamber of Commerce, studies have shown “people with disability are reliable and productive employees, have fewer workplace accidents than employees without a disability and take fewer sick days.”
“People with disability know they can often need a bit more training and flexibility with onboarding. They are appreciative of opportunities and once settled will not want to leave an inclusive work culture and supportive employer. As the world moves to acknowledge diversity in all walks of life, we are encouraged by those employers who choose to see all abilities and embrace diversity in the workplace,” says Leadbeater.
STEPS Group Australia has been as a committed advocate in disability action, particularly through our DES program. “Our passion to deliver individualised service is an absolute priority. It is about the person in front of us and meeting their expectations. We start by finding what they don’t want to do and then focus on what they do want, and we make that happen. No two journeys are ever the same and their dreams are nurtured,” explains Leadbeater.
“We also deliver continuous servicing so that the customer has the same coach from induction through to long term employment. This makes all aspects of the DES service easier.”