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Employer partnership: Glen Eira City Council

Glen Eira City Council CEO Rebecca McKenzie (front row centre) and staff celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2018 (Source: Glen Eira City Council)

Photo: Glen Eira City Council CEO Rebecca McKenzie (front row centre) and staff celebrating the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia 2018 (Source: Glen Eira City Council)

Strength in diversity: Glen Eira City Council walks the talk in community inclusion

Located in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs, the City of Glen Eira is home to more than 150,000 residents. In 2017 alone, the City produced goods and services worth $6.6 billion representing 1.6 per cent of Victoria’s gross state product, with more than 44,000 jobs located in the area.

The diversity of its community only strengthens Glen Eira's contribution to the broader economy. Glen Eira City Council sees equitable access to opportunities for all, including people with disability, as vital to the City’s socio-economic development. Glen Eira City Council’s Human Resources Business Partner Danny Milincic believes it’s essential for Council to lead by example.

“A few years ago, we embarked on a journey to develop a comprehensive Diversity Strategy. We adopted a whole-of-Council approach to making our workplace and community accessible and inclusive to people of all abilities. Providing employment opportunities for people with disability was essential to this approach,” shares Danny.

Council’s objective to implement best practice in disability employment saw the People and Culture area contact the JobAccess Employer Engagement service - National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC). The NDRC partners with larger employers for up to 12 months to provide essential tools, training and resources. The intent of the support is to raise disability awareness within the partner organisation and develop a tailored strategy for increasing disability employment

“The Diversity Strategy was a catalyst to create jobs for people with disability. However, while we had policies and procedures in place, we weren’t able to attract as many candidates and were missing out on a major talent pool. That’s one of the areas where the NDRC guided our efforts.”

The NDRC worked alongside Council’s People and Culture team to review their policies and practices and suggest changes to help remove any barriers to employing people with disability.

“The recruitment review was critical to identify and close gaps. For instance, we initially didn’t have a strong focus on communicating that we provided reasonable adjustments or mention that we are open to working with people with disability. Being clear and specific about our commitment has helped bring more candidates through the door,” adds Danny.

The NDRC also organised an information session for Disability Employment Services (DES) providers at Council as part of the partnership. The session gave the People and Culture team the opportunity to meet with more than 30 representatives from 16 local DES providers and share tips on how they can support candidates with disability to apply for vacancies with the council.

“We received a good response from a range of DES providers which was a terrific outcome. Many DES providers didn’t think of Council as a natural employer for their candidates, and were energised to know that we’re open to hiring people with disability.”

Additionally, Council tapped into the vacancy development and distribution service offered by JobAccess. It enabled them to broadcast job openings at no cost to a ready and skilled pool of candidates through a network of DES providers.

“The good news is that our vacancies are being picked up by JobAccess and circulated widely. DES providers are looking at our opportunities and referring candidates who can take on the role. Plus, we’ve been speaking with our hiring managers to ensure that people with disability are at the front and centre of the selection process,” says Danny.

Since the DES information session in March 2018, Glen Eira City Council has placed at least five candidates who identify as living with disability in a range of roles across different departments.

“We’ve seen a positive contribution from these candidates, as well as higher productivity at the workplace. Beyond making clear business sense, getting people with disability to work has a meaningful impact on their families and the people around them.”

As a community-based organisation, Glen Eira City Council aims to lead the way and send a powerful message about diversity and inclusion. “It is our ambition to reflect our diversity. We want to talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to inclusive practices. Going forward, we aim to provide more opportunities for people with disability, not just in employment, but also offer foot-in-the-door roles such as apprenticeship, volunteering and work experience positions.”

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