By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

"STRONGER TOGETHER" IS A WEEKLY COLUMN WHERE TANYA EXPLORES KEY ISSUES. TODAY TANYA TALKS ABOUT EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

At IMPACT we pride ourselves on our inclusive culture.

Our ethos is based around helping people realise their potential and providing avenues to assist them in reaching their goals.

Our services range from family support, training, employment, mental health and disability support, just to name a few.

But one area of our organisation I am deeply proud of are the opportunities we have created for assisted employees.

The Material Recycling Facility (MRF) employs 23 NDIS participants, and our New Image Laundry is another avenue for supported staff.

Many of our supported employees have not held jobs prior to working at IMPACT and found it difficult to become employed.

See IMPACT's NDIS services here

Yesterday, December 3, was the International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD), with this year’s theme being “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”.

Everyone has been affected by Coronavirus in one way or another, and now as we focus on returning back to “normal”, I would urge people to consider what “normal” should look like.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2018 almost 50% of employed people with a disability reported experiencing unfair treatment or discrimination due to their disability from their employer.

Two in five reported that they experienced unfair treatment or discrimination due to their disability from their work colleagues.

This data shows Queenslanders have a long way to go when it comes to acceptance and inclusion of all people not only in the workforce, but in everyday life.

The conversation about the benefits of hiring people with a disability needs to be highlighted.

Our NDIS participants bring a mountain of life and joy to our organisation, and their happiness and willingness to learn is contagious.

NDIS participant Sarah creates impressive building blocks at Rob's Shed

Some of our staff have been working at the MRF for over 30 years and their dedication is second to none.

Just like diversity in age and culture is important, so is a range of abilities in a workforce. It exposes people to a different “normal”, encourages greater understanding and generates acceptance, which benefits our entire community.

So have the conversation, do some research and encourage others to engage with disability awareness. We all deserve to be accepted.