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NT Government runs pilot recruitment program

Compulsory interviews if applicants meet essential job criteria is one aspect of a unique pilot program being run by Disability Works Australia for the Northern Territory Public Service.

The program, which has been developed by DWA since July last year, offers the NT Public Sector a special recruitment service for the employment of people with disabilities. Eight people have been employed since July, with more in the coming apprenticeship intake.

Ms Christine Short, Principal Adviser, Equity and Diversity, Officer of the Commissioner for Public Employment in the NT, said the program is a key part of the NT Government's Willing and Able Strategy, which aims to provide a working environment where people with disabilities are recruited and retained on the basis of their abilities, and where barriers to workplace participation are removed.

"In the NT, almost 13 per cent of the working age population has a disability and the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is double that for people without a disability," Ms Short said. "There is also a high rate of disability in the indigenous population."

The DWA program has involved establishing a register of people with a disability who are seeking employment, and providing training to enable them to become job ready. DWA also provides public service managers and interview panels with disability awareness training, and realistic guides to ensure the applicant's disability is irrelevant in the interview.

"DWA's approach of assisting government employers to understand how to employ people with a disability and to break down the barriers is effective," Ms Short said. "It is amazing how much ignorance exists among employers and how much focus they can put on peripheral issues that would not impact on the core skills needed to do a job."

DWA also assists in workplace modification and provides on-the-job support.

Ms Short said a unique feature of the program was that employers were compelled to interview all people with a disability who could meet essential job criteria.

"This overcomes a huge initial barrier and, with the interview panel trained in disability awareness, the interview can proceed on a more level playing field."

DWA has similar agreements in place with the South Australian, ACT and Victorian Public Service and some Commonwealth Government Departments.

 

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