The Dylan Alcott Foundation has launched a wonderful initiative, Remove The Barrier, to reduce unemployment among people with disabilities, asking Australians to remove the visible and invisible barriers that prevent people with disability finding work.
The charitable organisation, founded by Paralympic gold medallist and 9 x grand-slam tennis champion, radio host, TV presenter and disability advocate Dylan Alcott, has some big companies throwing their support behind its initiative.
Remove The Barrier addresses a problem facing one in five Australians, 4.3 million people, living with a disability. Only 54 % of people with disability have employment, with little to no initiatives in place to change this.
Remove The Barrier looks to highlight that people with disabilities spend their whole lives overcoming barriers, but there’s one they can’t get past, work their way around or find a solution to without everyone’s help – getting a job.
As Dylan Alcott explains, despite being willing and able workers, people with disability struggle to find jobs.
“When people with disability look for work, it’s often what we don’t see that is the biggest barrier – that of unconscious bias,” said Dylan.
“This invisible barrier is at the core of the campaign and is what The Dylan Alcott Foundation and the young people with disability involved in the campaign are asking businesses and individuals to remove.
“The Dylan Alcott Foundation decided it was time to raise awareness of unemployment among people with disability and change perceptions of what they can achieve in the workplace,” he said.
One of the stars of the campaign is 24-year-old, university-educated, Oliver Hunter who uses a wheelchair and has encountered unconscious bias, lack of opportunities and accessibility issues in his hunt for fulfilling work.
“I’d happily go into an interview and get knocked back for my lack of skills, but I’ve always felt that my disability has been the sole reason for employers turning me down,” Oliver said.
Dylan said he hoped Remove The Barrier sparked important conversations about disability inclusion in boardrooms, shop floors and offices around the country.
“Regardless of the fact that people with disability deserve the same rights as able bodied people, disability inclusion is simply good business,’ he said.
In Australia, 66% of those that do employ people with disability have experienced clear benefits including strengthening workplace morale, improved skill set, greater customer satisfaction and improved productivity.
The Dylan Alcott Foundation, in collaboration with BWM Dentsu has launched a powerful video that follows three people overcoming physical and mental barriers as they prepare for their working day. It closes on Oliver, unable to get through an invisible barrier at the front door of his office.
Oliver said people with disability were fully capable of doing an office job, a supermarket or a retail shop.
“Just give us a go. Let us have a crack and you’ll see what we’re capable of,” he said.
Visit www.removethebarrier.com to find out how you can help.