Continual and reinforced employer engagement strategies are one of the fundamentals to successful job placement and sustainable employment – a critical element of the DES program. While there are many factors that influence the availability of jobs such as labour market conditions and the willingness of employers to hire new staff, people with disability face additional challenges finding and keeping a job. Surveys have shown that many employers do not really understand the value a person with disability can bring to their organisation and there are misconceptions about costs and work-cover related to employing people with disability. Workforce participation rates for people with disability are shockingly low.
Heading toward 2018 we must endeavour to both maintain our best practice and engage new understandings of employer engagement. DEA are delighted to bring together an impressive panel of employers so successful strategies for employing people with disability can be discussed. The panel will explore the relationship between people with disability and employers, taking into account attitudes and expectations including those of their existing workforce.
The panel will explore and investigate:
• How do we better understand employer needs?
• How do employers change their recruitment practices to increase a range of applicants including people with disability?
• Did the panel have to educate and challenge their own workforce around attitudes people with disability?
• What have been the benefits to their organisation from employing people with disability?
• What different supports should be considered for the needs of large, medium and small employers when it comes to employing people with disability?
• How can we build employer awareness of Job Access, Workplace Modifications and Wage Subsidy and the Employment Assistance Fund? How do these resources make a difference?
• What else can be done to improve employment of people with disability?
The session will detail innovations and strategies that better match participant with employer and increase employment participation of people with disability.

Jo Marshall

Executive Diversity Mentor at Programmed and Chief Culturiser at Culturise

Jo Marshall has over 20 years’ experience in leadership across a variety of sectors. Core to her success as a line manager of teams of up to 200 people has been a commitment to diversity. Jo brings to our sector a strong and credible message that Diversity is NOT Charity and that diversity and inclusion is not only good for teams, but drives more successful commercial outcomes as well. She has proven practical tips for employers and providers on how to make disability employment really work in organisations and will share those insights as she participates with our expert panel to discuss this very topic.

Donna Purcell

Senior Manager Accessibility and Capability Advice
Commonwealth Bank

As a person with lived experience of disability, Donna is passionate about creating opportunities for people with a disability to be part of an all-inclusive society with equity of access to education and employment. She works at Commonwealth Bank and has been an ambassador for the NSW Government “Don’t Dis My Ability” campaign for three years and is a certified Access Consultant. Donna was seconded from the Commonwealth Bank to the Australian Human Rights Commission for one year to contribute to the National Willing To Work Inquiry in 2015/2016.
Donna returned to the Bank after the Inquiry to take up a new role as Senior Manager Accessibility and Capability Advice. She is responsible for leading the accessibility and inclusion strategy for Commonwealth Bank including developing the Accessibility and Inclusion Plan and developing an accessibility framework to improve access for customers and employees with a disability.
“I love the work I do in developing a more equitable, inclusive and accessible environment for customers, employees and the community”.

Tara Waller

HR Business Partner
Brisbane City Council

Tara is a HR Business Partner at Brisbane City Council. Tara joined BCC in 2004 and has had a varied career there ranging from systems implementation projects, Strategic human resources and, of course diversity and inclusion; heading up the team who delivered the award winning disABILITY ACTION @ WORK program. This program has been incredibly successful with 69% ongoing employment outcomes for participants and an average income of $62k per annum and its success has been recognised with Department of Human Services the Employer of the Year Award at International Day of People with Disability Awards.
Tara is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion at Brisbane City Council. As well as working loosely with the DAAW program, she is a vocal member of Council’s LGBTIQ+ network and used her passion to develop learning and development and inclusive talent management strategy, cadetship programs and career guidance services.

Joshua Magnus

Petite Waffles

Joshua Magnus is the manager for a Belgian waffle manufacturing company producing Liege waffles. His is 49 years old and works in the family business with his 2 sons.
He started out life as a producer in the film industry specialising in Japanese advertising. He then saw the potential of the growing coffee market and started Brisbane's first coffee carts in 1999 and soon set up several espresso bars at the University of Queensland and are still there run by his beautiful partner Gabby. While travelling in Japan he discovered waffles and then travelled to Belgium to learn from a pastry chef upon returning to Australia in 2008 soon set up the waffle business Petite Waffles.

Richard Barnett

National Client Solutions Director
Hays Recruitment Agency

Richard is National Client Solutions Director for Hays, Australia’s leading recruitment organisation. He also sits on Hays’ National Diversity Council, as one of two subject matter experts in the area of recruitment and employment of candidates with disability.
He has over 20 years of experience in senior roles for some of Australia’s largest recruitment companies, overseeing the placement of tens of thousands of people into new roles.
Richard has been on the board of the Australian Network on Disability (AND) since 2008, and has been actively involved in marketing AND's services to many new organisations, lobbying Government on disability-related recruitment issues and in helping develop AND’s innovative ‘Disability Confident Recruiter’ program.
Richard received the prestigious ITCRA ‘Social Responsibility’ award for 2016 in recognition of his work with AND.

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