Industry Partnerships

Partnership with JFA Purple Orange
(Julia Farr Association)

Narrative: EQUALS is collaborating with Purple Orange, a disability research and advocacy organisation working in disability employment.

The issue: We know that people living with intellectual disability experience low rates of employment in Australia and when they are employed, they are less likely to work in sustainable employment than their peers with other types of disability.

The aged care sector is a growing industry with high recruitment needs. The Aged Care Strategy Taskforce has identified that innovative models are required to improve attraction and retention rates of employees The Taskforce also recommends that such models target diverse groups including young people and people with a disability.

The solution: We know that employing people living with a disability can bring benefits to the culture of an organisation and to the quality of care provided to residents. This project showcases how targeting people with a disability for employment in aged care is a strategic and viable approach for aged care providers to expand their talent pool and improve retention rates. This project is focused on uncovering the barriers to participation and identifying the steps required to address those barriers and assist people with a disability to gain access to employment in aged care.

This project will explore what a successful traineeship program in the aged care sector looks like for people living with a disability, and particularly an intellectual disability. The goal is to develop a model that can be replicated, and implemented, sector-wide.

Project Overview: Under their Road to Employment project (a three-year project funded by the Department of Social Services), Purple Orange has established a Disability Employment Industry Working Group in aged care (DEIWG). The group will explore how organisations can increase their confidence in working with people with a disability and how, together with industry, it can work collaboratively with the sector to improve employment opportunities for people living with a disability. This project leverages the work already underway in this space. Having worked in this project for the past 18 months, Purple Orange has established two working groups, successfully bringing together representatives from aged care and finance to identify the needs of the sector and ways to facilitate change at an industry and organisational level.

The project has two major phases. With the support of the Government of South Australia, the first stage has involved EQUALS International and Purple Orange, working together to establish a workforce plan that details an approach to engaging new staff living with disability through a traineeship. The second phase of the project will see the traineeship plan roll out across a number of committed and enthusiastic aged care employers across South Australia. Aged care partners include St Anna’s Residential Aged Care Home, ECH, Eldercare, Kalyra Communities, and Amber Aged Care.

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