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Urgent Action Required: Bridging the Disability Employment Gap

By October 24, 2023No Comments
An image of Dylan Alcott, Karni Liddell, Thelmerrie Rudd, Paul Harpur, Peter Shergold and Lisa Chaffey. All who took part in the panel and proceedings at the event.

Image caption: From left to right Dylan Alcott AO, Thelmerie Rudd, Karni Liddell, Professor Paul Harpur, Professor Peter Shergold and Dr Lisa Chaffey.

Last Friday (20th October 2023), uLaunch marked a significant milestone as Australia’s newest disability employment provider. At an interactive event in Sydney, we brought together a diverse group of leaders and advocates to tackle a longstanding and pressing issue: the persistent lack of progress in employing people with disability.

For three decades, employment rates for people with disability have consistently trailed nearly 30% behind the general population. This stark reality highlights the urgent need for change and innovation in the realm of inclusive employment practices.

A Turning Point

uLaunch’s kick off represents a turning point in addressing this disparity. With a commitment to championing disability inclusion, our organisation is determined to drive the change that has been long overdue. Last Friday’s event was a testament to our dedication.

An image of Aunty Thelma, Karni Liddell, Paul Harpur and Peter Shergold on stage conducting the panel.

Image caption: From left to right Thelmerie Rudd, Karni Liddell, Professor Paul Harpur and Professor Peter Shergold during the panel segment.

Inspirational Voices

The event featured a distinguished panel of speakers, including:

Dylan Alcott AO: Former Australian of the Year and four-time Paralympian, Alcott emphasised the vital role that organisations like uLaunch play in pushing workplaces to excel and be more inclusive.

Karni Liddell: Paralympian Liddell spoke about finding someone (to support you and encourage) nod at your crazy ideas, and allies in your community. She also emphasised finding your own identity and label.

Professor Peter Shergold AC: As the uLaunch chair of the Board, an academic historian and employment and education, expert Professor Shergold guided discussion by highlighting uLaunch’s mission and its how employment rates for people with disability had not improved in three decades.

Dr. Lisa Chaffey: As a uLaunch Board member, occupational therapist, and Paralympian, Dr. Chaffey shared valuable insights on eliminating unconscious bias through active listening and learning from diverse experiences.

Professor Paul Harpur: As a uLaunch Board member, Paralympian, Lawyer and international Disability advocate Professor Harpur encouraged everyone to (embrace their unique identities and look up to role models as they forge their own paths.) look for, or supply, positive role models that can inspire and pave the way for the next generation.

Lisa Chaffey and Dylan Alcott during the Q&A session on stage.

Image caption: From left to right Dylan Alcott AO and Dr Lisa Chaffey during their Q&A segment.

The Path Forward

Dr. Chaffey underlined the importance of listening to people’s lived experiences, citing it as the most effective way to create truly inclusive environments. She urged attendees to continually advocate for equal opportunities, ensuring that everyone can work safely and happily.

The call for action is clear: urgent change is needed. As a society, we must work collectively to establish inclusive workplaces that provide equal opportunities to everyone.

uLaunch’s kick-off event was more than a mere celebration; it was a clarion call for change in disability employment. The persistent employment gap is an issue that has endured for far too long. It’s high time we unite and work together to create a brighter, more inclusive future for people with disability. Together, we can bridge the employment gap, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance at a fulfilling and prosperous career.

Event Gallery: uLaunch Event 20th October, 2023 (Mantra Parramatta)

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