City of Boroondara Council embeds disability employment in process and practise

Image: Camberwell Library in the Boroondara Civic Precinct, Victoria (Source: City of Boroondara Council)

Home to more than 183,000 residents, Boroondara has one of the most increasingly diverse populations in Victoria. This includes people with disability.

With an estimated one in five Boroondara residents living with disability1, smart employers are getting ahead of the curve to embrace their diverse skills and build an inclusive workforce that reflects the community they serve. The City of Boroondara Council has led by example.

To improve access and inclusion in its recruitment and retention processes, the Council incorporated partnering with the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) – the employer engagement service at JobAccess – in its Disability Action Plan 2018-22.

What is the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator?

The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator partners with larger employers across Australia to improve their disability confidence through free, tailored 12-month partnerships.

The NDRC works alongside employers to help identify and remove workplace barriers to improve equitable access to employment for people with disability.

Recruitment Strategy and Talent Acquisition Lead at the Council, Alexandra Yosifidis, says, “We hadn’t performed an exercise like this before and wanted to know where we sit (with disability confidence).

The focus of our partnership with the NDRC was to learn more, so we can confidently inform our managers and hiring managers to help them recruit and employ people with disability. 

Our goal was to create sustainable practises and opportunities for people with disability and learn from experts like JobAccess and the NDRC about what we can change.”

NDRC Professional Adviser Rob Crestani worked closely with the HR and Recruitment team at the Council to review its current policies and processes from the lens of a person with disability and offer actionable recommendations.

Building confidence through training

Typically conducted face-to-face, NDRC activities have transitioned online due to COVID-19 restrictions. This included the Disability Awareness Training sessions.

“The online disability awareness training delivered by JobAccess also happened to be our organisation’s first virtual session. We had over 70 team members attend the first session, and Rob and the NDRC team did a fantastic job! It had the right level of information and interactivity.

After the session, a few department heads approached us wanting to learn more about employing people with disability. In fact, one of the department managers was keen to know how we can work with DES providers.

If it wasn’t for that training, they may not have come to us with that proposal. It really opened up the conversation,” Alexandra shares.

Image: Hawthorn Arts Centre (Source: City of Boroondara Council)

Tapping into DES providers

One of the partnership outcomes saw the Council work with Disability Employment Services (DES) providers to attract, recruit and employ people with disability.

“In our experience, training and education have been key to employing and supporting people with disability.

One of the DES providers conducted specialised training for two team leaders of the candidate it placed with us. The training helped guide us on how to best support the employee in the workplace.”

New procedure on reasonable adjustments

Another outcome of the partnership was the implementation of a new Reasonable Adjustment Procedure.

A Reasonable Adjustment Policy defines the principles and procedures of making reasonable adjustments in the workplace to meet the needs of current and potential staff with disability.

Alexandra explains, “Initially, we had an informal process to provide reasonable adjustments. However, we needed to outline the process for making adjustments at different employee life-cycle stages, including the interview and commencing employment. Rob helped review the procedure and plan for us.”

Employing a DES candidate helped the Council put its new Reasonable Adjustment Procedure to the test.

“We utilised the Procedure to review employee supports in place and what we need to do to keep on top of that policy.”

Catalyst for positive change

Alexandra believes partnering with JobAccess and the NDRC was a catalyst to start the conversation on disability employment in the workplace.

“It helped build confidence within the organisation. Because we have partnered with the NDRC, we have access to Rob and the team.

While we may not have all the answers, knowing where to go for supports is a good step forward. It’s the starting point to bigger things,” she concludes. 

To learn more about disability employment and the range of supports available, visit the employer page on the JobAccess website. You can also contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to connect with the NDRC, or submit an online enquiry.


1 Diversity statistics. City of Boroondara Council.

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