Wedesday 13 April 2011

The AFL has launched a partnership with Disability Works Australia (DWA) and the Australian Government to create more job opportunities across the Australian football industry for people with a disability.

Twenty two people with a disability are already working with the AFL and AFL clubs as a result of the program which has been funded through the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

AFL General Manager Human Resources Christina Ogg, said one in five people in Australia have a disability and many of them still face significant discrimination when seeking employment.  

“The AFL Disability Employment Program is about making a positive impact on the Australian community.  It is also smart business which recognises the benefits of employing people with a disability.

“These include incredible loyalty and commitment from employees who have proved they are in it for the long haul,” she said.

AFL Disability Employment Program ambassador and Western Bulldogs player Sam Reid, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year, said the program would make a significant difference to the lives of people with a disability and equally, organisations would benefit from the program. 

“We have really benefitted from employing people with a disability at the Western Bulldogs and I’m proud to be involved in a program which gives people an opportunity to be an important part of the team. 

“Having experienced first-hand the contribution people with a disability can make to an organisation, and the positive impact it has on their lives, I’d encourage all businesses to consider their recruitment options,” he said.

Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten welcomed the new partnership between the Australian Government, the AFL and DWA.

“Football is a game that captures the heart while being played with the head.  I know, whatever your team, that all Australian football supporters are staunchly on the side of those around us who live each day with a disability.  So this working initiative by the AFL is as smart as it is positive,” he said.

Disability Works Australia provides support around recruitment processes, and disability specific information to facilitate the employment process in a supportive manner and without burdening an organisation.

DWA chief executive officer Tina Zeleznik said: “There are many determined and capable people with a disability who, if given an opportunity, can make an outstanding contribution to an organisation.”

The program was officially launched by Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten before last Saturday’s match between the Western Bulldogs and Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium.

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