The Disability Confident employment strategy

Less than 45% of New Zealand’s disabled population is employed, and a new campaign from the Minister for Disability Issues is again a little hit and miss.

The Disability Confident campaign aims to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, but in order to be successful, employers must be willing to forgo some of their pre-conceived ideas about what’s “best for business”.

Nicky Wagner, the Minister for Disability Issues, says that people with disabilities represent a vast pool of talent that employers can tap into to enhance their workplace. Wagner also touched on a good point in her comments about the campaign. She said that it also gives disabled employees more confidence and economic independence.

The campaign aims to support employers to hire, and retain, disabled employees.

On the MSD website, there is more information about the Disability Confident campaign. A guide can also be found, featuring ‘how-to’s’ for employing disabled staff and a section on what hiring people with disabilities can do for a business. But, like a lot of other attempts to improve opportunities for disabled people in the workforce, this campaign relies on employers being willing to participate.

The fear that I have is that most employers won’t. Attempting to engage the mainstream workforce and the disability community has been done before. To moderate forms of success and failure.

Originally, one of the big principles of Enabling Good Lives focused on creating successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities. However, in order for participants to be eligible for that help, they first needed to be on a living support of some kind.