Government looks to disability employment to help fill tourism gaps

August 9, 2023
Jane Louise

When The Hastings Club made the decision to employ someone with a recognised disability, the club knew it would require flexibility. But they also knew that sometimes those who became the best employees were the most challenging in the beginning.

The Hastings Club’s desire to build a strong foundation for an excellent workplace culture based on community values led it to employing Hastings local Melissa Stevens.

Ms Stevens lives with low lung capacity, a side effect of an autoimmune disorder. While she struggles with fatigue and shortness of breath, she also has a strong desire to be part of the workforce.

Since she began work with the club, she has reported an increase in energy, a boost in confidence, and new friends.

“I have a bigger social network, I’m working, and they’ve (The Hastings Club) seen me as me, not someone with a disability,” explained Melissa.

“I was relying on Centrelink before, and now I’m not. It’s the best feeling out.”

Club manager Cameron Griffiths said he had no regrets employing Ms Stevens, who is now firmly a part of the team.

The club was assisted in their hire choice by the employment service AMP, through the Disability Employment Scheme.

The Government has recently announced the continued commitment to boosting employment and retention opportunities for people with disability, focusing on jobs in the tourism sector, to further assist the sector in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To this end, the Thrive 2030 strategy has included in its actions a pilot program, the Tourism Local Navigators Pilot, to run from July 2023 to July 2024.

This program brings a place-based approach to help connect tourism-based small and medium enterprises with local disability employment services.

“This means bridging the gap between businesses and jobseekers and giving more people the chance to secure meaningful employment in a diverse and dynamic sector,” says Minister for Trade and Tourism, Don Farrell.

Melissa Stevens. Image: supplied/MP news


Disability employment, government scheme, Thrive 2030 strategy, tourism jobs, Tourism Local Navigators Pilot

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