The issue of unemployment and underemployment in the disability community is clearly visible when the statistics are brought into focus. In 2019, 53% of people with a disability were in the labour force, compared to 84% of people without a disability, while people with a disability living in regional areas were less likely to be in the workforce than those in the cities.
We thought we’d give you an insight into one small business working against the stats while they create opportunities and a meaningful workplace for a small number of participants: United We Made It. We’ll also take a quick look at some of the disability employment services available that you can access.
United We Made It
United We Made It is a group of inspired individuals who opened a store in Port Lincoln, South Australia that creates up-cycled furniture, jewellery and art and they sell them as one-off pieces to the public. If that doesn’t sound cool enough, the people behind the creations make it sound even cooler. As of writing, a team of eight people with disabilities work together with other staff to craft these specialty pieces (that’s grown from three people back in January).
The arty folk are employed to use their creativity and personal style, working with pre-loved items to give them new life and the results are something to admire (and for sure will go on your “want” list).
Participants at United We Made It are people who have lots of capabilities, they learn and develop independent skills, and they show anything is possible,” says team leader Joy Milton.
Although it seems like a small number of employed individuals, United We Made It is leading the way when it comes to creating new ways for people in the disability community to find meaningful and enjoyable employment – something we all seek.
There are other great organisations out in the community doing great things to fix the unemployment and underemployment gaps in the disability community (comment below if you’d like to give a shout out to one of them), but we thought highlighting something unique is a great way of sparking conversations and starting new ideas for the rest of us.
If you’re looking for employment for yourself or someone you care for, get creative when you’re on the hunt, you might just find a position to work somewhere as fun and unique as United We Made It.
To help broaden your search, here are some handy, more mainstream resources you can tap into:
Job Access is a government-run initiative connected to Disability Employment Services (DES) that can both get you in the right mindset in finding employment as well as connect you with prospective employers by way of DES. They provide help to participants seeking employment that can include things like career advice, employment preparation, resume development, and training.
You can also get help with job searching and ongoing support at work (if you require it), including funding for necessary workplace modifications and wage subsidies to employers.
BUSY Ability is one of Australia’s most experienced providers of disability employment services working with the DES to get results for jobseekers and employers alike. Their website states that their “comprehensive suite of services enables them to deliver flexible, fully-personalised programs for participants”.
If you’re a participant looking for work, you can register as a jobseeker on their site, or open up the conversation to get help with job-readiness in a specific sector.
Employers can also get involved with resources on their website that can help with financial support, recruit staff for specific roles with the ability to list job vacancies that can lead to meaningful employment for a BUSY Ability registered job-seeker.
Each year, BUSY Ability helps hundreds of people to find and maintain employment – could you be next?
Be Curious, Go Wide
Businesses like United We Made It may be popping up in your area, so we suggest jumping on social media, keep an eye on news sources (like the ABC’s Disability News) and by all means just start talking to people in the community about employment – you might be surprised with the opportunities which you can find.
NDSP Plan Managers is a NDIS registered provider specialising in NDIS Plan Management. If you are a NDIS Participant looking for the right Plan Manager, CLICK HERE to get in touch with our friendly team today.