Breaking the Stigma:
Our Approach to Disability Employment
Brite’s CEO Nick McHale recently conducted a virtual presentation discussing the current state of disability employment in Australia, as well as highlighting the recent changes we’ve made to increase our capacity to provide meaningful employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
At Brite, we are passionate about taking responsibility to connect with people to make impactful changes for those in the disability sector. According to Nick, it’s far too easy to point fingers at others and seek to blame funding and policy settings for the lack of progress on employment outcomes. However, it’s much more important to focus on what we can do, here at Brite and in the disability sector at large, to make a difference.
Breaking the Stigma:
At Brite, we focus on establishing meaningful engagement with those who have a different perspective than us. Nick says that it takes real courage to swallow your pride and meet in the middle to have the tough conversations, build a sense of community and make positive changes for people with disability. As a result of this mentality, Brite has been able to have discussions with advocates, government, education institutions, business partners and other people in the disability sector to help them find ways to provide opportunities for people with disability that would otherwise have been put in the “too hard basket.” At Brite, we aim to be the example of how to employ someone with a disability and prove that it’s not difficult or inconvenient.
The approach Brite has taken to change the way we communicate with potential partners is modelled on a German business called with the Fraunhofer Society, which was formed after WWII to help rebuild Germany and the German economy. Some of the incredible partners we’ve been able to bring on to create employment for people with disabilities include local businesses, RMIT University, Toyota Australia and more. These businesses and organisations work with us to see how we can improve our capability and start to bring new products that people with disabilities can build, sell and design to create employment with and beyond Brite. In addition to this, we were very lucky to receive some funding from NDIA’S Information Linkages and Capacity
Building (ILC) initiative to help plant the seeds for our projects. This allows us to act as a neutral partner between businesses to help them create a positive sum gain through the collaboration.
The Brike is an e-bike specifically designed for people with disabilities, made by people with disabilities. In Australia, the assistive technology market is worth over four and a half billion dollars, with Australia importing 80% of assistive technology from overseas. The NDIS will add another billion dollars to the market; therefore, we see a great opportunity to activate the local economy and co-design products, such as the Brike, which revolutionises the social enterprise space.
Overall, Nick highlighted that Brite is working towards breaking the stigma around the “difficulty” of employing people with disabilities using a new approach. Instead of getting disheartened by the lack of funding and opportunities other organisations provide, we want to work with these organisations to educate them and provide them with the tools to employ people with disabilities.
Find more information about the Brike here.