One-stop-shop for employment services
- One-stop-shop for employment services
- Australian Department of Social Services
- Country of Implementation
- Australia & Oceania
- In cooperation with
- Australian Government, administered by the WorkFocus Group
- First published
“JobAccess has been successfully removing workplace barriers for thousands of people, however, further improvement is needed to have an authentic impact on disabled people’s unemployment rate.” Christine Walton, Executive Officer, Australian Disability & Development Consortium
Tackling the lack of information about how to eliminate barriers from all stages of the employment journey, Australia set up a highly replicable programme, where information is offered to both job-seekers and employers in a variety of ways, including about the recruitment process and workplace adjustment. HISTORY: As people with disabilities continued to find it difficult to maintain employment, the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission undertook a study in 2005 which identified three major obstacles: lack of easily accessible and comprehensive information, cost concerns of employers and risks related to disability affecting employment. The main lesson learnt from the programme’s not very successful forerunner is the importance of reducing bureaucratic burdens. After consultations with DPOs, the employment service industry, the private sector and the government, as well as the Department of Labour (who funds the Job Accommodations Network), the JobAccess Programme was launched in 2006 by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. It responds to practical issues faced by employees and employers at the workplace, aiming to increase workforce participation for those with an ability to work and including better supports for employers considering employing people with disability. In 2008, JobAccess was winner of a UN Public Service Award, which highlighted that it has greatly encouraged access to employer incentives. In consultation with all stakeholders, the programme is continuously improved and tailored to the needs of the target audience. SUMMARY: Tackling the lack of information about how to eliminate barriers from all stages of the employment journey, Australia set up a highly replicable programme, where information is offered to both job-seekers and employers in a variety of ways, including about the recruitment process and workplace adjustment. The Australian JobAccess Programme of 2006 complements non-discrimination legislation and addresses the lack of easily accessible and comprehensive information regarding government assistance for employers and employees with disabilities. It facilitates the removal of workplace barriers through technical advice and adaptation grants, while it offers to disabled people the means and support to find or retain a job through vacancy directories and advice. Being highly replicable, JobAccess won a UN Public Service Award in 2008 and is promoted by the Global Applied Disability Research and Information Network on Employment and Training.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Social model of disability By providing very practical assistance and incentivising employers, JobAccess focuses on abilities and combats prejudice about workplace modification. Accommodation Not only environmental adaptations, but also communication devices, sign language and mental health supports are provided, so that barriers are eliminated from all stages of the employment journey. Public consultation Continuous consultation with all stakeholders ensures the ongoing improvement of the programme and tailors it to the needs of the target audience. Reducing bureaucratic burdens Whereas, previously, they took three paper-based forms and about 11 days, applications for assistance for less than AUS$10,000 are now answered within four hours (others within two days). KEY FEATURES: The JobAccess Programme of 2006 provides a one-stop-shop for all matters related to the employment of people with disability. It helps job seekers and employees with disabilities who are about to start a job or are currently working, and who need assistance in searching and preparing for work, to enter and remain in employment, and it provides expert advice services to employers, service providers and co-workers. Administered by the WorkFocus Group, the programme delivers information via phone and website (www.jobaccess.gov.au), and coordinates adjustments in the workplace. The user-friendly website of 700 pages of content provides information on the full range of employment services available, along with step-by-step guides for recruitment and job searching. It contains an online database of workplace adjustments and solutions (another 1,000 pages of content), information on rights and responsibilities, as well as statistics and case studies. JobAccess users can receive free confidential advice and gain access to services such as the Employment Assistance Fund, which provides a free workplace assessment and financial support. Assistance can be requested by employers, employment service providers and people with disabilities. In light of the impressive number of enquiries (120,000) and of applications for funding (17,000) since 2006, and a 90% consumer satisfaction rate, the programme responded to a real need. It enhanced access to incentives for employers: in 2006-2007 about 700 people received a reimbursement, a number which was expected to rise. Whereas, previously, applications for assistance took three paper-based forms and about 11 days, they are now answered within four business hours. Once a workplace assessment report is lodged, in 94% of cases, JobAccess Advisors approve the report within two business days.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
So far, it appears not to have decreased unemployment rates. Reimbursement can pose inappropriate financial burdens on small employers. People with psychosocial disabilities need a more targeted approach