Passing the BATON on employment

Published 9:00am 1 December 2023

Passing the BATON on employment
Words by Jodie Powell

A free new pilot program is aiming to give people living with disability greater access to tourism and hospitality jobs across the Moreton Bay region.

As part of the Disability Employment Tourism Local Navigators pilot, BUSY Ability will work with business owners and disability employment service providers to help hospitality and tourism organisations recruit staff.

BUSY Ability’s Tourism Opportunity Navigator (BATON) aims to provide 100 small and medium tourism operators in Moreton Bay North area with workforce planning services, diversity in recruitment training, strategies to recruit and retain the right people with disability and locally targeted business resource packs.

BUSY Ability Moreton Bay Tourism Local Navigator Nicole Tinney says the 12-month pilot – funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services – is a game changer for the hospitality and tourism industry as well as for people living with disability.

Adding diversity

“It’s about connecting disability service providers and tourism and hospitality businesses to boost workforce capability,” Nicole says.

“Employing someone with disability adds diversity, which is linked to increased staff morale and teamwork.”

Nicole says her work will pay particular attention to finding suitable employment opportunities for people living with “invisible” disabilities such as PTSD, anxiety and sensory challenges.

“We will also help people who are not able to work full time and give them an opportunity to work on a part time basis,” she explains.

“That’s game-changing and that’s the whole purpose.

“My role is about connecting disability service providers and tourism and hospitality businesses – I’m a bit like a disability employment matchmaker.

Significant contributions

Passing the BATON on employment

“This groundbreaking pilot project is truly transformative, as it highlights the fact that individuals with mental health challenges are incredibly valuable assets in the workforce. It's important to recognise they are fully capable of making significant contributions in the marketplace, dispelling any misconceptions about their abilities."

Nicole says the BATON program is free for both candidates and employers to access.

“Candidates will still go through their NDIS or DES provider but employers will come directly to us and we will take them through the workforce training to allow them to employ the right people – we pass the baton."

“There are also unique employer resource packs so they can work to build workforce capabilities from their resource pack on our website.”

Join the network

Nicole says accessing BATON is not limited to operators working directly in hospitality and tourism – anyone with links to the industry can access the service to find employees.

“If you have a link to a tourism operator or hospitality business, that becomes part of our network,” she explains.

“For example you might be an agribusiness supplying the food industry – that qualifies you to work with us.”

BUSY Ability CEO Stacey Turnbull says the organisation is excited to be supporting Moreton Bay tourism operators with human resourcing, diversity and skills needs for the sector, as well as career opportunities for people living with disability.

“BUSY Ability has been supporting businesses with diversity and inclusion and people living with disability into meaningful careers for over 30 years. Looking back, we’re proud of the impact we’ve had over the past three decades, however we’re dedicated to looking forward and strive to shape a workforce where diversity and inclusion is the rule, not the exception."

Learn more about BUSY Ability’s BATON program.

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