In line with the principles of social inclusion and with the International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) celebrated annually on 3 December, SSI has participated in a number of activities that not only support SSI’s effort towards building a more inclusive workplace, but also contributes to enable grassroots community leaders promoting disability inclusion in their communities.
SSI has been part of Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) for the first time this year; PACE is a 16 week mentoring program run by Australian Network on Disability (AND) that connects job seekers with a disability with mentors from leading businesses. This year, three SSI managers hosted three mentees in the Ashfield and Bankstown offices.
“PACE mentoring at SSI was a highly enriching and enjoyable experience. We met fortnightly to engage in a range of discussions and activities that helped me grow personally and professionally”, said Celine, a mentee.
“I joined the PACE program to give me insights into the HR Business Partnering world, as this is my career aspiration. The PACE program was a wonderful experience and allowed me to work with someone who has incredible knowledge in HR”, said Joanne, a mentee.
“It has been great to be part of this program on behalf of SSI. It has helped us mentors to build our own leadership skills, and has been a great opportunity to work with someone one-on-one and see them build self-confidence and work towards their goals”, said Elissa Trafford, one of the SSI mentors.
Externally, a number of community leaders who completed the Disability Inclusion Leaders Training project delivered by SSI in May, organised and delivered events to their communities to honour IDPwD.
One of these events saw Japanese community leaders host an event called “Tomoni”, meaning ‘together’. “Because of the resources and my better understanding about the social model of disability, we in the Japanese community feel more confident and motivated to continue to make our community more inclusive for people with disabilities”, said Chie Nakatsuka, Japanese community leader who completed the training.
Wafa Zaim, a leader in the Arabic community, led a presentation about her learnings from the SSI inclusion training and how the community can make a difference by understanding and promoting inclusive attitudes.
On a separate event held in Arabic, a recently arrived community member held back her tears whilst stating that “I feel I am freer to take my child who has autism to the community activities because I know that he is not sick, just different”.
Disability-inclusive attitudes and behaviours are embedded into a number of initiatives led by SSI. Acknowledging the social, financial and emotional benefits of an inclusive society will continue to support our work internally and externally.
Sharing this message throughout our communities, workplaces and businesses is key to building a society where everyone can feel they belong.
For more information about PACE, visit: https://www.and.org.au/pages/mentoring.html