Ventia boosts disability employment opportunities with “phenomenal” JobAccess partnership

Two staff members at Ventia’s office standing in front of the company’s logo signage
Image: two staff members at Ventia’s office standing in front of the company’s logo signage.

Ventia is one of the largest essential services providers in Australia and New Zealand, and it is taking positive steps to ensure its workforce reflects the diversity of the community.

The company completed a 12-month partnership with JobAccess’ National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) to understand and overcome any barriers people with disability may face within the organisation.

The organisation has implemented many of the JobAccess recommendations and is taking steps to address others with key internal stakeholders. They expect this work to be completed over the next few months.

Ventia’s Disability and Social Inclusion Manager, Daniel Osgood, says Ventia aims to confidently recruit people with disability company-wide, with its workforce better reflecting the diversity of the broader community.

“Ventia saw an opportunity to create a workforce that reflects various marginalised or disadvantaged groups – one of these being disability – to ensure that we understand the communities in which we operate and reflective of our commitment to our stakeholders,” Daniel shares.

“While we had significant success on one contract, we knew if we were going to take this across our business, we needed to ensure that we not only had the right policies and procedures in place but were also able to break down stigmas and barriers within our workplace to ensure everyone had the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents.”

NDRC: Your dedicated disability employment adviser

The 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.

Leading by example

Ventia’s Social Sustainability team came to JobAccess through research and advice from established connections in the community and disability employment space.

Loes Westerbeek, Ventia’s Social Inclusion Manager, recalls, “We found that JobAccess and the NDRC were perfectly aligned with where we were in our journey at the time.”

NDRC Professional Adviser Claudia Stevenson worked to educate senior leaders at Ventia on how to support disability employment. Loes notes that the organisation has continued to create multiple roles for people with disability but with a stronger framework in place.

“We used the disability awareness training delivered by the NDRC to educate close to 500 leaders in Ventia who have since thought about how they could employ people with disability and subsequently have created upwards of 25 roles specifically for people with disability,” Loes notes.

“Our internal recruitment company, Skout Solutions, are now disability competent recruiters, and we have created a fantastic network of Disability Employment Service (DES) providers throughout Australia to which we can extend these created roles.”

Learning from personal experiences

Daniel and Loes describe Claudia as “nothing short of phenomenal”, adding that Claudia’s experiences as a person with disability only strengthened their knowledge and understanding of inclusion.

“We have built not only a strong working relationship with her and the NDRC, but a personal one too, as Claudia has shared parts of their journey and barriers that they have faced, which has given us a better insight into what a person with disability could face in the workplace,” Daniel said.

“We were able to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of inclusion around disability and how to make our workplaces more inclusive and accessible.

“We also found being paired with someone at the NDRC with who we could build a relationship and have open, honest discussions directly with someone with lived experience was one of the biggest benefits for us as an organisation.”

Ventia staff member standing in the office and smiling at the camera
Image: Ventia staff member standing in the office and smiling at the camera.

Bringing new ideas and perspectives to the table

Ventia, a finalist for the Australian HR Institute’s Graeme Innes Disability Employment Award 2021 and nominated again in 2022, is committed to improving diversity and inclusion throughout its operations. Loes highlighted the importance and benefits of a diverse workforce.

“Diversity within our teams also ensures that we bring to the table new ideas and perspectives, harnessing the know-how of our people to get the job done.

“We are an equal opportunity employer with a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, violence, discrimination and harassment. Ventia’s Sustainability Strategy supports our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion throughout our operations.”

“The biggest improvement the NDRC has given Ventia has been (disability) confidence, and that has been second to none,” Loes concludes.

Get a head start on your disability employment goals.

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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