Widening the lens: SBS embarks on the journey to disability confidence

SBS Access team celebrates Loud Shirt Day in support of kids who are deaf or hard of hearing (source: SBS).

Created in October 1975, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) was born to meet the growing call for ethnic broadcasting in Australia as a result of higher migration after World War II. Forty-four years on, diversity is still at the heart of everything for SBS.

Developing and delivering content for diverse audiences using multiple platforms – from free-to-air TV to on-demand digital streaming services and an extensive radio network reaching 68 multilingual communities – means employing a workforce representing the diversity of the Australian population. This includes 4.4 million people with disability.

One of the strategies SBS adopted to increase the employment of people with disability was entering into a 12-month partnership with JobAccess’ National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC). 

“Our partnership with the NDRC focused on recruitment as well as reaching other services experienced in this space,” says Anne de Voronine, Recruitment Advisor at SBS. 

What is the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC)?

The NDRC partners with larger employers across Australia through free 12-month partnerships to provide tailored support for building disability confidence.

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

Small wins start the conversation.

A dedicated NDRC Professional Adviser worked alongside Anne to review SBS’ recruitment policies and procedures through the lens of a person with disability.

“There are always small wins you can tick off along the way. For example, asking candidates if they require any workplace adjustments in the application stage and not just upon commencing employment,” shares Anne. “It’s the simple changes that can help start the conversation in the workplace.” 

The recruitment review exercise undertaken by the NDRC helps identify any gaps in the hiring process and suggest good practice to make it accessible and inclusive experience for candidates with disability, starting from the application stage to on-boarding new employees. 

The NDRC also delivered Disability Awareness Training sessions for SBS staff. These sessions are designed to drive awareness among recruitment teams, hiring managers and HR specialists by sharing facts, dispelling myths and advising on various supports and good practices to improve confidence and make the hiring process more inclusive.

Getting candidates with disability through the door.

A vital outcome of the NDRC partnership is to build an ongoing and sustainable pipeline of candidates with disability for the employer. One way to achieve this is by establishing connections with local Disability Employment Services (DES) providers

The NDRC organised an employer information session for DES providers at SBS as part of the partnership. The session provided an opportunity for the SBS recruitment team to meet 30 representatives from local DES providers and share tips on how to support candidates with disability to apply for vacancies with the broadcaster. 

Anne says, “One of the great things the NDRC did was to help us partner with DES providers who were advocates in the community. It opened the door for providers to have a conversation with SBS and send through candidates for our vacancies.”

The information session was a win-win for both SBS and DES providers.

“We’ve had a good experience with DES consultants who are passionate about what they do and helping candidates have a voice and an avenue. Some people with disability don’t have the opportunity to apply, so the value we received from working with DES providers was incredible. Candidates too felt comfortable to apply through them,” shares Anne.

How to find a DES provider? 

To find a DES provider near you, go to our list of DES providers.

A pragmatic, ongoing journey to disability confidence.

SBS logo, JobAccess Driving disability employment logo, ALUMNI PARTNER Committed to Disability Inclusion logo

Having completed the 12-month partnership with the NDRC in June 2021, SBS joined the JobAccess Alumni – a cohort of more than 150 public and private organisations across Australia committed to disability inclusion in the workplace.

Anne believes SBS’ journey in gaining disability confidence has just started. 

“One piece of advice the NDRC shared with us was ‘don’t be perfect, we all make mistakes’, and that employing people with disability is nothing revolutionary. It just takes a pragmatic approach,” recalls Anne.

According to the latest diversity and inclusion employee survey by SBS, 4% of employees, including 6.5% of senior leaders and 3.8% of managers, identified as living with disability. Through similar initiatives such as partnering with the NDRC, SBS aims to increase the employment of people with disability in its workforce in the coming years.

“For me, it (the NDRC partnership) was a massive eye-opener. For SBS, it was another way to align with our purpose, which is to inspire all Australians to explore, respect and celebrate our diverse world and in doing so, contributes to an inclusive and cohesive society. The work we have been doing with Job Access and our partnership with Disability Employment Providers also completely aligns with our values and embracing difference for the benefit of our beautifully diverse audiences.”

For employers looking to increase their disability confidence, there is a wide range of support available. You can contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to speak with our Advisers and learn more about working with the NDRC.

Employers can also join the JobAccess mailing list to receive e-newsletters and invitations to employer events designed to help employers begin or further their efforts in employing people with disability.

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