Business owners and employers know that finding people who compliment their organisation’s culture, with the right skills and attributes, is critical to success.
And from my decades long experience as an employer, I also know how challenging that can be.
At Care Support Network, we were looking to expand our pool of candidates and secure a highly valuable team member. In the past, there have been times in my hiring cycles when the pool of potential employees seems almost non-existent. Just last year, though, I discovered a brilliant program through Job Access that has delivered the right person for our team.
Care Support Network provides disability support and management services to help people navigate their NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) funding. When we initially spoke to Sam Press about joining our team as a Support Coordinator, we knew very quickly that he was a great fit for us. He embodied all of the attributes we look for in a candidate; he was a keen learner, a team player, able to manage his time well, demonstrated a positive ‘can do’ attitude and showed a deep empathy for the people we serve.
Sam is also a participant in the NDIS. This gives him the added benefit of ‘lived experience’, with a genuine understanding of the services available, the challenges to access them and the best ways to walk alongside our clients as they navigate the scheme.
Very early into the interview process we knew we wanted Sam on our team, but we were faced with structural challenges. Sam uses a wheelchair and some of the office infrastructure – including doors, entry ramps and toilets – were not optimal for wheelchair access. As a business that prides itself in finding solutions to challenges, we quickly started investigating opportunities that would enable us to properly support Sam’s employment.
We discovered a grant program through Job Access that helped make Sam’s long-term employment possible and has opened the door for other great people with diverse abilities to join our team too.
The process included on-site meetings with an accessor to identify upgrades and supports that would enable infrastructure to support Sam’s long-term employment. The premises owners were also part of the planning and approval process. Importantly – it was a quick turnaround. From the first meeting to grant approval took only 8 weeks. This meant we could offer employment to Sam and bring him on board within a reasonable timeframe.
Historically, Sam’s disability had prevented him from developing a career as he would have liked, having worked in short-term administrative positions for years. The ongoing burden associated with limited wheelchair access meant long-term employment was just not feasible. Thanks to funding from Job Access, he is now in secure long-term employment and I believe both Sam and Care Support Network are better because of it.
Recently, Sam shared his journey with us at a morning tea we hosted for the International Day of People with Disability, “I go home every night fulfilled – I really enjoy and love what I do. Getting up for work every morning is not a burden anymore.”
There are a lot of great people out there ready to make a valuable contribution through employment. Some of these people are being overlooked because of disability but thanks to Job Access, it is possible for workplaces to create environments that enables employment for a range of abilities. With a greater pool of candidates to choose from, you too may find your next great employee quicker than you expected.
Rob Evers is the CEO of Care Support Network. Rob envisions a world where people with disability and their carers are living a good life, in a society where they can connect and participate with ease.
Bringing a wealth of experience to his role, Rob has served in leadership positions in both the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. This includes leadership positions (CEO/Director) in aged care and disability since 2002. Prior to this, Rob served as General Manager Australia for MYOB Ltd, where he ably led the company through a period of four-fold growth in 2000.
As co-founder of Care Support Network, Rob now focusses on building and sustaining a business that nurtures an excellent team of people to do the most important work; walking alongside their clients to help them navigate the NDIS system with ease, so they too can lead and live a good life.