NDRC partnership drives GOTAFE closer to disability employment goal

Two women having a conversation at the GOTAFE campus
Image: two women having a conversation at the GOTAFE campus.

As the largest vocational education provider in regional Victoria, GOTAFE knows the importance of representing the communities it serves.

GOTAFE offers over 130 courses, services 11 local governments and supports a resident population of around 240,000. And on the back of a recent partnership, it is now committed to increasing the representation of staff members with disability to 12 per cent by 2025.

The training organisation is one of the 360-plus Australian employers to partner with JobAccess’ employer engagement service, the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC).

The NDRC partnership is designed to enable organisations like GOTAFE to gain disability confidence by providing expert advice and support through a free and tailored 12-month program.

Daniel Gardner, Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion at GOTAFE, said their partnership with the NDRC was already paying dividends.

“The executive team and CEO agreed to a 12-month partnership, which is already having a significant impact on how we are able to meet our goal to better support current and future staff members living with disability,” Daniel says.

What is the NDRC?

The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) partners with larger organisations across Australia through free, tailored partnerships to provide one-to-one support for building disability confidence.

It works alongside employers to help identify and remove systemic, attitudinal, and environmental barriers in the workplace to improve equitable access to employment for people with disability.

Making the most of NDRC’s support

Through its partnerships, NDRC works with employers to develop inclusive workplace policies and practices that help attract, hire and retain people living with disability. It conducts workplace training and support with reviewing existing policies and procedures with the intent to remove any barriers in the workplace.

Aside from partnerships, the NDRC offers a job vacancy distribution service and organises employer seminars on disability awareness for all organisations, big or small.

“We reviewed our policy environment, including flexible work and workplace adjustment policies, and our recruitment process to further use the JobAccess vacancy distribution service,” Daniel said.

“We also organised disability awareness and mental health awareness training for our staff, which the NDRC delivered,” he adds.

Paving the way to inclusiveness

GOTAFE has used the JobAccess vacancy service to broaden the candidate pool of people with disability applying for vacancies. At the same time, an NDRC Professional Adviser delivered Disability Awareness Training, which raised awareness among hiring managers and staff about working with people living with disability in a supportive and inclusive way.

“The Disability Awareness Training was really helpful for introducing many staff to what disability inclusion looks like in workplaces, what stereotypes look like and how they create barriers for people,” Daniel said.

“The training also highlighted the legal framework for eliminating disability discrimination and what we can all do to respond through the use of inclusive language. We also had a session on mentally healthy workplaces, which was helpful to unpack mental health as disability specifically.”

Daniel Gardner, Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion at GOTAFE, standing next to the institution’s Shepparton Campus Fryers Street sign
Image: Daniel Gardner, Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion at GOTAFE, standing next to the institution’s Shepparton Campus Fryers Street sign.

A practical approach prompts action

The training and support helped GOTAFE move from intent to action, while the recruitment review proved particularly helpful. It took a practical approach to identify gaps in the hiring and onboarding process and provide recommendations by bringing a fresh set of eyes from the lens of a candidate with disability.

“The most useful ongoing piece of work was the recruitment review. We’ve managed to dissect the recruitment review report into an action plan, with different focus areas, outputs, who is responsible and the timing it will roll out,” Daniel explained.

“We’ve achieved a few things so far, including an ‘Accessibility’ page link on our website, an inclusion statement in our internet ads, a ‘Careers at GOTAFE’ button on the front page of our website and more.”

Looking towards the future

With nine per cent of staff identifying as living with disability, Daniel says GOTAFE wants to continue to build on its success to reach its 2025 target.

GOTAFE is looking at work experience and placement opportunities for students with disability and will soon finalise a reasonable adjustment policy and procedure thanks, in part, to help and templates from JobAccess.

“Continuous improvement will never end as we’re on a long-term journey,” Daniel concludes.

Looking to gain disability confidence? Talk to us.

The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) provides tailored, one-to-one personalised support to help large employers become disability fit.

Contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to connect with the NDRC or submit an enquiry.

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