Disability Works Australia

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Recruitment drive goes long distance

Distance is no barrier for Disability Works Australia in its partnership with Coles Myer Ltd to help people with disabilities find work.

Coles is hiring poeple with disabilities in all corners of Australia and Maree Jones, DWA's manager in Western Australia, recently travelled from Perth to the state's far north west to assess candidates for Coles' Broome store.

With the onset of the busy tourism season in July and August, the store's manager Peter McGill was keen to hire four people with disabilities to tidy shelves.

Two have already been found and, as DWA News went to print, another two were close to being employed.

"Unlike metropolitan areas where it's never too difficult to find people with disabilities looking for jobs, in regional towns it can be a different story," Ms Jones said.

"Even though we've found it quite hard to fill these vacancies, Peter totally supports this program and has worked very closely with us to identify the right people and to organise a work schedule that suits them. It's been a real team effort."

Ms Jones is also appreciative of local Broome recruitment agency Kimberley Personnel, which went out of its way at short notice to identify candidates for the positions and provided excellent on-the-job support.

Two young men are now employed part-time at the store after a month's work experience - Matthew Pola, 22, who has a significant visual impairement, and Jay Kennedy, 27, who has an intellectual disability.

Coles formed an alliance with DWA in July 2004 to implement an industry best practice model for recruiting people with disabilities. This has led to more than 400 people being hired in a range of positions across Australia.

Mr McGill said everyone ended up being a winner. "We're taking on people that might otherwise struggle to find a job, but it's certainly not just one way becuase they are all very keen. It's a very successful program."


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