Workers in the Northern Rivers have a chance to try a fun and fast ball sport – on wheels – and learn how to make their business more accessible to people with disability.
The not-for-profit organisation Social Futures, which has been taking wheelchair sports into the region’s schools since 2021, has introduced the free ‘No Limits’ program for local businesses.
Social Futures is a NDIS partner in the community, meaning we help deliver the scheme in regional NSW and promote inclusion in the community. Any workplace on the Northern Rivers can host No Limits and ABC TV News recently ran a story on the new program.
“Giving employees a go at tennis, basketball and obstacle relays in a sports wheelchair is a fantastic team building activity, and also a great way to start talking about access and inclusion in the workplace,” Social Futures’ Local Area Coordinator David Johnson said.
Mr Johnson is a wheelchair tennis player, who won a silver medal at the Sydney Paralympics. David is employed by Social Futures and all the presenters of No Limits have lived experience of disability.
“Becoming an inclusive workplace means eliminating barriers – both physical and attitudinal – that stop people either working for your organisation or becoming a customer,” Mr Johnson said.
“In effect, we are talking about everything from staff attitudes to disability through to whether your building has a ramp.
“A No Limits session is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face because chasing a ball on wheels is fun and a bit tricky. We take wheelchair sports into schools and children with and without disability have the best time – no one wants to stop.
“The session includes a short presentation about the benefits for businesses when they become more inclusive and welcoming of people with disability. That could result in new customers and a larger pool of potential workers – many organisations are now struggling to recruit.
“There is lots of information about simple and cost-effective ways to build access and inclusion into workplaces and the benefits this can bring to employers’ team and the people they work with.
“We also talk about government resources and supports available to make your workplace more inclusive. Social Futures has also developed an Inclusive Workplaces – Business Toolkit, with a wealth of information.”
The toolkit includes videos that have been crafted by staff with disabilities – our inclusion experts.
“So many businesses have a shortage of workers but there is a large and diverse cohort of people you can draw on – people with disability,” Mr Johnson said.
According to Australian Human Rights Commission, Australians with disability have low workforce participation rates.
Only around 53 per cent of people with disabilities are employed, compared with 84 per cent of people without.
Mr Johnson said the employment rate of people with disabilities hadn’t budged in 20 years and Australia has one of the lowest employment rates for people with disability in the OECD.
“That is a key reason why we developed the No Limits program for Northern Rivers workplaces,” he said. “By becoming more inclusive you bring new skills to your business, attract more customers, improve team culture and you may end up employing a person with disability who brings new skills and talents to your team.”
The not-for-profit organisation Social Futures is an NDIS partner in the community.
If you would like to host a No Limits session at your workplace, phone 1800 522 679 or visit: https://socialfutures.org.au/building-inclusive-workplaces/ or email [email protected]
You can also watch the inclusive workplace videos here: https://socialfutures.org.au/building- To talk to a NDIS Local Area Coordinator email [email protected] or call our LAC Hotline on 1800 522 679 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 4:30pm).