Disability Works Australia


IKEA creates a new career for Grant

Grant Mitchell has embarked on a new career with IKEA following a successful partnership being formed between the Adelaide store and Disability Works Australia (DWA).

Employing more than 350 employees, IKEA Adelaide recognizes the importance of a diverse workforce and the contribution individuals make to the successful operation of the store.

Building upon the success of its recruitment and retention programs in South Australia , IKEA is now piloting an innovative partnership with Disability Works Australia (DWA) to recruit more people with a disability.

Discussions between IKEA's Human Resources Manager, Sarah Marling and DWA staff began in late 2007 and initially centered on how IKEA recruits its employees and the best way to complement their current internal processes by tailoring a program for people with a disability.

It was decided to start by exploring opportunities within IKEA's Food and Beverage Department, which oversees the running of the store's 360 seat restaurant.

IKEA Adelaide's Food and Beverage Manager Alex Riach embraced the program and DWA began discussing career opportunities at the Adelaide store.

DWA staff were engaged with finding suitable candidates for positions within the Food and Beverage Department and highlighting any additional support or possible modifications to the work environment that may be required. A shortlist was then developed and interviews arranged.

On advice from DWA, the recruitment process was modified. Rather than ask candidates to apply through the mainstream IKEA recruitment system, DWA referred clients with a disability directly to Food and Beverage Manager Alex Riach. A suitable candidate was identified and offered a two week work experience placement in the Food and Beverage Department.

The successful candidate, Grant Mitchell, has a mild intellectual disability and is supported by Personnel Employment (PE), a local Disability Employment Network Provider. The Disability Employment Network Provider forms an important part of the employment process by supporting Grant in training for a position and in the transition period while he is learning and performing in the role.

Grant started with IKEA Adelaide on two weeks work experience. Throughout this period he was supported on the job to make sure he understood his responsibilities as he performed various roles within the food and beverage department.

”The IKEA Adelaide Food and Beverage Department is privileged to be involved with DWA and has experienced a true win win outcome for both our operation and our new co-workers”. – Alex Riach, Manager Food and Beverage IKEA Adelaide .

Work experience is undertaken for a variety of reasons resulting in benefits for both parties including:

  • Allowing employers, managers and staff to conceptualise the link of employing a person with a disability;
  • Allowing managers and staff to build rapport with the candidate;
  • Both parties can look at the “job fit” and make any appropriate alterations.

After two weeks work experience, Grant was offered a position within the Food and Beverage department.

IKEA Adelaide has continued its recruitment program involving people with a disability and has since employed four more employees with disability through DWA.


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