Employing dignity in the workplace

Social Justice Sunday 2017 is about the development of an inclusive and sustainable economy and it provides a time to reflect on the importance of work in people’s lives. Employment not only provides resources to live and care for family; it also brings social interaction, physical and mental activity and a sense of belonging.

However, not everyone has equal access to employment and therefore do not enjoy the wellbeing and satisfaction that comes from working. The Deloitte Access Economics Report 2011 revealed people with disabilities are very much underrepresented in the workforce. Furthermore, the gap between employment rates for people without a disability compared to those with a disability is widening.

CatholicCare’s Direct Employment, the not for profit disability employment agency of the Sydney Archdiocese, has professional and committed staff providing the type of support and direct links to employers that enable people to access jobs to suit their needs and passions. They provide practical support to help clients identify strengths and skills, to search out potential employers and encouragement to manage the interview process.

For Shahina, who came to Australia 8 years ago, Direct Employment has restored her confidence and allowed her to pursue her passion of working in retail. “I’d always considered myself as an independent, resilient, career-oriented woman until in 2010 I experienced a severe trauma which led me into anxiety and depression,” she says. She struggled, eventually losing her job which served only to worsen her symptoms.

Shahina’s psychologist referred her to Direct Employment where she met consultant Jessica. “I needed someone who could understand what I was looking for,” reports Shahina. Jessica was that person and the two set about identifying Shahina’s skills, developing her resume and approaching potential employers. Their efforts paid off; Shahina is now happily employed in a role she absolutely loves.

So how can each of us work towards ensuring other people like Shahina are wonderfully contributing to our economy? As business owners, we can approach agencies such as Direct Employment to discuss free, consultancy services to recruit staff for us. As employers, we can advocate to senior people in our organisations about the benefits of employing people with a disability in flexible roles. As employees, we can welcome people into our teams, ensuring we support and nurture everyone.

To contact us call our CCareline Team on 13 18 19.


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