Businesses across the Newcastle, Hunter & Central Coast regions are taking a stand against the inequality faced by people with a disability by pledging to promote inclusion in their workplace. On International Day of People with Disability, Castle celebrated 100 business pledging to their campaign, The Inclusive 100.
Our Inclusive 100 campaign strives to overcome stigmas, foster understanding and put disability on the agenda. With one in five Australians identifying as having a disability and this demographic facing an unemployment rate that doubles the national average, Castle recognised that the community faces a serious social issue that is too big to ignore.
“We wanted to start a local movement to raise awareness of the importance of employing people with disability. Employment can help people find a real purpose in life; it offers a meaningful connection with their community and, most importantly, financial and social independence” said Castle’s CEO, Dianne Hamer.
The campaign has gained the support of major employers in the region such as The Wests Group, nib Health Funds and Hunter Water. Lake Macquarie City Council was the first government agency to join in September. The support from local government helped motivate the business community to take action and raised awareness at a state and national level.
“We know there are huge benefits in making our communities more inclusive. We all have a role to play in improving employment opportunities, as well as the health and wellbeing of people with disability and this is one way the Council can show our support and take action,” said Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Fraser.
Small businesses have also pledged to reinvent their recruitment process and give people with a disability a go. Wheelchair ramp manufacturers, Tyrex Solutions, were one of the first businesses to pledge to the Inclusive 100 and were eager to translate their business values into their workplace culture.
“We had an opportunity within our business to employ a part time person. With Castle’s assistance, we looked beyond the disability and included that person within our workforce. We have been able to live the values we promote by employing staff with disabilities,” said Michael Luck, General Manager at Tyrex Solutions.
National labor hire company, Chandler Macleod’s Newcastle branch also joined the Inclusive 100. In their pledge to the campaign they aimed to promote inclusion within their workplace and embrace a new mentality in their recruitment services.
“We like to think that we change lives for all people, not just people with outstanding capability but people with all levels of ability. That’s one of the main reasons we wanted to join,” said Margo Shand, General Manager of Chandler Macleod Newcastle.
The Inclusive 100 aims to educate the community on the diversity of disabilities and promote the fact that not all disabilities are visible. With almost half of Australians likely to experience a mental illness in their lifetime, the campaign urges business owners to assess their workplace’s current mental health support resources for employees.
Although Castle has achieved their goal of 100 local businesses pledging to inclusion, they will continue the campaign and encourage other businesses to get behind the initiative. Putting disability on the agenda is the first step to removing the barriers faced by our community’s most vulnerable.