Taking the first steps to hire someone with a disability

Monday, 8 March 2021

Hiring someone with a disability can ensure your business is not missing out on reaching its full potential. Having employees with a disability means your business can gain a range of benefits such as unique perspectives, quality problem solvers and dependable and loyal staff.

At EPIC Assist (EPIC) we understand that if you have never hired someone with a disability before it can be hard to know where to start. EPIC is a registered Disability Employment Service (DES) provider that can help you find job-ready employees who will bring valuable new perspectives and a competitive advantage to your business. We take the time to understand your businesses’ needs so we can find the right person for the job.

To give a more in-depth look into the support we offer we chatted with one of our Employment Advisors, Charnea. Charnea works closely with employers to break down barriers around hiring people with disability and help build more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Here to help every step of the way – an interview with an EPIC Employment Advisor

Charnea Dalgety head shot
Employment Advisor – Charnea Dalgety

Q1. Can you give a general overview of what an Employment Advisor is?

Employment Advisors work with our job-ready participants and their employers. Our role is to support both the participant and employer during the recruitment process and beyond to ensure everyone is happy and working well together. We stay in contact and offer support long after the participant has started the job to ensure the longevity of the role. Keeping people in a job is the most important part.

Q2. What kind of support can employers expect from EPIC?

We support the employer as little or as much as they need. For example, we have an employer that likes to have a phone catch up every fortnight. I check if there is anything I need to communicate with the participant and discuss any possible issues and solve these potential problems. However, we also have employers who are happy to just have contact when needed. We tailor our communication and support style to what best suits the employer and participant.

Q3. How do you make the right job seeker-employer match?

Having open communication at the very beginning is the key to everything. Letting the employer know what the participant’s skill set is, but also educating them on where the participant may need extra understanding or helping them make workplace modifications. We work closely with the employer and the participant to ensure that there are clear expectations of the role. Clear expectations result in the longevity of the role.

Q4. What do you think the biggest misconception is about hiring someone with a disability?

I think the biggest misconception is about what disability actually is. When I approach businesses they usually think of disability as someone in a wheelchair when really having a disability can include a whole range of conditions either physical, mental, or intellectual. Employers should not pigeonhole people. Disability does not mean they don’t have the ability to succeed.

Q5. Why do you think inclusive and diverse hiring is important?

It is important because of the skill set people with disability offers. Just because they have a disability does not mean they do not have the skills and knowledge to perform the job. By hiring someone with a disability you are also showing other businesses that it’s possible and showing the younger generation that having a disability does not mean you can’t achieve your employment goals.

Q6. Why are you passionate about your role?

The primary school I went to has a special education unit. In Year 7, I volunteered and the children I met did not think they would make it to high school, let alone find employment. I want people with disability to be aware that there are jobs out there and they can achieve independence. I enjoy working at EPIC because of the results we get and the difference we make.

Q7. What is your favourite part of the job?

By far my favourite part is telling someone they have gained a position. I also love hearing the reactions of their friends and family when they tell them about their new job. A very close second is having contact with the participant a few months down the line and seeing how much they have changed since gaining employment and becoming a part of something important.

Q8. Why do you think EPIC is different to other DES providers?

At EPIC we tailor our approach to each individual. I offer a lot of flexibility in how I work, depending on how the employer wants to be serviced. We understand not one person or business is the same and therefore we must have a versatile approach.

If you are looking at making diverse and inclusive hiring a priority contact EPIC today.

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