Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

43 billion economic boost by raising employment for people with disability - you reckon

18 Jun 2012A report launched last month at the Australian Network on Disability's (AND) National Conference revealed that Australia's GDP could be increased by $43 billion over the next 10 years if more Australians with a disability were included in the nation's workforce.

At the moment, only 50% of the 2.2 million Australians of working age with a disability are employed, as opposed to nearly 80% of Australians without a disability who are of working age.

Historical data indicates there has been little progress in relation to improving the labour force outcomes for people with a disability over the 16 years from 1993 to 2009. The labour force participation rates have been stagnant for all people with a disability.

I don't think its about just sticking people with a disability into work to pump up the statistics.

Its more about building a foundation in society where a person with a disability is emotionally supported and encouraged to grow in confidence and learn skills. It's not just about acceptance or open mindedness by the employers. It's also about how the busy workplace is going to support a person mentally, physically and emotionally.

It's not just about the employer's acceptance or open mindedness when having a person with a physical disability in your workplace. The physical workplace has to be easy to get around because the more hurdles people with a disability need to jump over to get to their place of work and around their place of work causes fatigue and results in the person with a disability not wanting to continue working due to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion.

So, it's not just about educating people about the ability of those with a disability, it's also about putting things into practice to accommodate a person with a disability, mentally, emotionally and physically.

I needed automatic doors installed at the front of the building and in the bathroom. Before the automatic doors were put in, I was struggling and feeling worn out. I felt really bad asking for them. I felt as though I was being an inconvenience. I am now really comfortable here and my place of work has become my second home.

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