Australian Apprenticeships & Traineeships Information Service (AATIS) in proud partnership with Melbourne Apprenticeship Disability Network (MADN) bring you a series of blog posts and resources to support those living with a disability, to understand Australian Apprenticeships and how they can be a viable pathway for all Australians.
This blog will help you to understand your rights, considerations to be aware of and the best way to navigate job seeking.
- Inherent Requirements
- Evidence of disability
Then in our next blog we explore in-depth the different types of apprenticeships and traineeships, the benefits of completing an Australian Apprenticeship and how you can start a rewarding career and earn while you’re learning on the job.
The choice to disclose your disability can be complicated. Knowing when, how, who and what to tell others about a disability can make the process difficult, especially as you may fear discrimination. Ultimately, it is a personal decision based on many factors.
Purpose of disclosing
There are many reasons you might choose to disclose your disability. This includes:
- Requiring adjustments to the application and/or interview process
- Requiring work-related adjustments to complete your role
- To show how your disability can be relevant to the position
It’s important to note that an Australian Apprenticeship includes a component of formal education (‘off-the-job’ training) which can be a somewhat unique arrangement. Disclosing your disability for the purpose of training may be needed by both your employer and the Registered Training Organisation (RTO). We’ll cover employers and training providers later in blog post 4.
When to disclose
- During the application process – a disability can be shared on your resume or during the job application letter. It’s not the most common time to disclose but could be appropriate if it’s relevant to the position or there are work related adjustments required to ensure equal opportunity throughout the selection process.
- The job interview - it is best to share to the convener of the interview panel or a member of the interview panel
- Employment offer – you may choose to share your disability with the employer, supervisor, human resources department or equity representative
- Completing a health questionnaire and assessment – If asked to complete either of these prior to commencing a new role
An important reminder that disclosing a disability is a decision that can be made at any time, even after you have been in a role for some time. For information on how to communicate with an employer, you can visit Youth Disability Advocacy Service’s website.
What to disclose
Disclosing a disability is required if it impacts your ability to safely complete the official requirements of your role. This will help both the individual and employer to implement any workplace adjustments. You should consider the scope of the role and which elements of your disability may need to be disclosed for this purpose. If your role changes, you should consider whether there is a need for disclosure at this time.
A workplace adjustment is a change made in the workplace to enable someone to work effectively. A person with a disability might also require adjustments to be made during the interview process, prior to commencing a role. Adjustments for an interview can include changes to the location, providing alternative formats or having a support person present. When considering potential workplace adjustments, it’s important to research all the available options and decide what adjustments (if any) are required to enable a person with disability to work most effectively.
Example of workplace adjustments
Below are a few examples of possible adjustments:
- Offering an Auslan interpreter or providing interview questions in a different format
- Installing a ramp of modifying toilets
- Providing flexible work arrangements and job design
- Changing communications systems, computer screens and providing an accessible desk
If you are unsure of what adjustments may benefit your work, you can visit: https://www.humanrights.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/disability-and-the-workplace/ or refer to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.
It is unlawful for a person to be discriminated against because of their disability. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 protects the rights of people with disability from discrimination in areas including their employment. This includes:
- Recruitment and staff selection
- Conditions of employment
- Opportunities for training and promotion
If you feel that you are being discriminated against during a selection process for a role or once you are in a role, you can visit: https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability-rights/know-your-rights-disability-discrimination for further information and steps to making a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The core duties that must be completed to fulfil a position are called inherent requirements. By law, an employer must offer and implement any reasonable workplace changes needed by a worker with a disability, for them to perform their inherent requirements. Should an employer decline this support, they must show evidence of unjustified hardship. This means that accommodating a workplace adjustment request would be an impossible financial disadvantage to the employer.
Evidence of a disability
It is a worthwhile practice to maintain up to date documents or a support letter from your doctor regarding your disability. Evidence of your disability and medical needs may be required when accessing support services.
Thanks for reading!
Job Access Support
Employment Assistance Fund