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The 2022 Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott, has wasted no time getting to work on the issues that matter most to him. Through his Get Skilled Access organisation and the partnership with Randstad, the seven-time Australian Open champion, Paralympian, and disability advocate is on a mission to transform the employment landscape for Australians with disability, a program that’s been 18 months in the making.

The vehicle for Dylan’s mission is Recruitable, a new two-year pilot program with inclusion and accessibility at its core that’s designed to mainstream disability recruitment and enhance major organisations’ capacity to offer greater employment opportunities to Australia’s 2.1 million working-age people with disability.

According to Dylan, there’s a wealth of untapped potential in the disability community, so both employees and employers stand to benefit from the program:

People with disability have unlimited potential which is why we’re committed to transforming the mainstream recruitment process and reshaping perceptions towards people with disability.

Dylan Alcott
A photo of Dylan Alcott
A photo of Dylan Alcott

key players get in the game

These employers include influential organisations like Coles, Bendigo Bank, Hydro Tasmania, RACQ, Tennis Australia, and of course Randstad, all of which are committed to helping set a new standard for disability employment and inclusion in Australia.

“As a major recruiter in Australia with significant influence on the shape of the workforce, driving diversity is absolutely key to Randstad,” explains Madeline Hill, Randstad’s General Manager of Diversity & Inclusion. “But for me, this is even more important because I have a personal connection. I have a family with a disability, so this is not just about doing the right thing. It's about opening people's minds to the talent, skills, and abilities that candidates with disability have and recognising that we all have a part to play in bringing diverse talent into organisations.”

Dylan agrees that this is an attitude the disability community has long been hoping to see gain a stronger foothold in the minds of Australian employers: “A more inclusive model of recruitment is long overdue. RecruitAble will offer all Australians an equal opportunity to go after the job of their choice, fulfil their potential, and live the life they deserve.”

A key goal for RecruitAble is the normalisation of disability in the workplace, which will have a transformational effect on a nation where many people have never had co-workers with disability.

“This is the problem,” Madeline explains. “Not enough Australians have ever worked with people with disability, which means that many people do not feel that they can disclose their disability in the workplace for fear of discrimination.”

what labour shortage?

The RecruitAble program is also supported by funding from the Department of Social Services (DSS), which sees it as an opportunity to tackle the national labour shortage through the creation of a simpler and more inclusive recruitment service that allows employers to tap into an underutilised talent pool more easily.

Anne Ruston, the Minister for Families and Social Services, believes RecruitAble will empower employers to walk the walk just as effectively as they talk the talk.

“We know that the majority of employers indicate an openness to hiring people with disability,” she explains. “But only around a third of businesses show behavioural commitment to doing so. The RecruitAble pilot will highlight the benefits of a highly talented but regularly overlooked workforce.”

A group photo of the RecruitAble and Randstad teams
A group photo of the RecruitAble and Randstad teams

recruiting for the future

To ensure the program has an impact beyond its two-year lifespan, RecruitAble’s results will be examined by La Trobe University with the insights gained being used to help shape future reforms and initiatives.

As Senator Ruston points out, these learnings should have long-term impacts as the program “aims to provide organisations with insights into the accessibility of the current recruitment process and identify the key areas for improving the hiring process.”

Ultimately, RecruitAble is poised to provide Australians with disability more choice and control over their career, while offering organisations access to an untapped pool of talent, resulting in a win for all involved.

As Madeline explains:

My vision is that we create a blueprint for how we mainstream disability recruitment, not just for Randstad, but also for the recruitment industry and clients. We will be recruiting more people with disability directly into the Randstad business, so I would like to see a shift in attitude where having more people with disability working in our business becomes standard operating practice.

Madeline Hill