On Saturday 29 January we held a Bubble Hui on the topic of employment. Members from across Aotearoa joined in on the call to discuss their experiences of employment and to highlight current issues causing inequity in the employment of disabled people.

A number of topics were raised. Some of the main points were:

- A need for more flexible work options.

  • Part-time employment is a viable option for many disabled people, but these jobs are rarely advertised.
  • Government agencies should model inclusive employment practices, e.g., enabling more part-time or job share roles.

- Lack of meaningful career advice for disabled people.

  • Non-disabled career advisors often underestimate the prospects of disabled job seekers or school leavers.
  • Relationship building is critical for employment prospects, and more networking opportunities for disabled people is needed.
  • There is often a focus on job placement, not on longer term career planning.

- Employer attitudes/ignorance.

  • Recruitment processes aren’t inclusive or accessible.
  • Employers aren’t aware of different types of disabilities.
  • Ableist assumptions.

- There are systemic barriers which lead to disabled underemployment.

  • It is difficult to transition from a benefit to sustained employment and more support in this transition is needed.
  • Inaccessible transport and housing are barriers to employment.
  • Inaccessible education and lack of support for students.

During the hui, DPA Research and Development Advisor Angela Desmarais talked about her new role focusing on equity in employment across Aotearoa, and gave an update on DPA’s Mahi Tika – Equity in Employment programme that is being piloted in Waikato.

Later this year, Angela will be holding forums across Aotearoa to find out more about disabled people’s experiences of employment and employers’ experiences of employing disabled people. When the dates and locations of these forums are confirmed, we will let you know.