Workshops encourage businesses to employ people with disability

Maree Jenner with colleagues at Social Futures

Not-for-profit organisation Social Futures is offering support to Central Coast employers looking to fill job vacancies by showing them how to access a skilled but untapped workforce – people with disability.

Social Futures says it is easy and inexpensive to become an inclusive workplace for people with disability, opening the potential to attract new employees and customers.

Manager of capacity building, Lynda Hope, said Social Futures can deliver onsite inclusive workshops on the Central Coast and has produced helpful videos about employing staff with disabilities.

“Many talented people, with great work ethics, can’t get a job because employers either don’t recognise what they have to offer or think it will be too hard to accommodate a person with disability,” Hope said.

“Social Futures, which delivers the National Disability Insurance Scheme in northern NSW, employs many talented people with disabilities.

“We know how to make it work and we are sharing our knowledge.

“We can explain that there’s so many resources out there to support business, including funding to make workplace adjustments for an employee with disability.”

Hope said the Social Futures workplace workshop and videos had been crafted by staff and disabilities inclusion experts.

She said that, according to the Australian Human Rights Commission, only around 53 per cent of people with disabilities are employed nationwide, compared with 84 per cent of people without disability.

Maree Jenner is a Local Area Coordinator with Social Futures, running the inclusion awareness program Different on the Outside, Same on the Inside in primary schools.

Born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, Jenner said she had become adept at developing problem-solving skills.

“I work and live in a world designed for people who are taller than me, so every part of my day outside of my home throws up challenges,” she said.

“That means I’ve become an expert at navigating obstacles.

“I’ve become incredibly resourceful. I think outside the box, and have become very flexible and adapt easily to change.

“All these attributes I bring to my work. I work to overcome challenges and get the best results.”

Jenner said many people with disabilities are adept problem-solvers because every day they needed to accomplish tasks differently.

She said Social Futures only needed to provide a few adjustments to enable her to do her job. These changes were financed through Job Access, an employment assistance fund.

“I have a short-stature office chair with a footrest because my feet don’t go to ground, and I have an access stool in the kitchen, so I can reach the high cupboards,” she said.

“Other than that, I work in the same office as my colleagues, and have a great work life.

“I want to encourage employers to adjust their mindset and be open to what a person with a disability can do for their business. Be open, be flexible, let the person with the disability show what they can bring to that job. Don’t make the decision for them.”

To arrange an Inclusiveness workshop for your business call 1800 522 679, go to or email

Source: Media release, May 13, 2022 Social Futures