Mentorship Program provides purpose through uncertain times

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29 Oct 2021

Faced with the known of a global pandemic and a country in lock down, Australian Network on Disability needed to think differently to ensure they could keep their member base active and engaged.  Recruitment was pausing, premise reviews were not possible and business priorities had changed.

Australia Network on Disability needed to think differently about how to support their members in a practical, purposeful, engaging way.

The Mentorship program – PACE (Positive Action towards Career Engagement) was the perfect vehicle in such uncertain times. With a focus on the program, 2020 saw a 30% increase to 261 mentoring matches. Momentum continued to grow in 2021 with a staggering 357 mentoring matches made.

Being a mentor provide our member’s employees the opportunity to focus on doing something purposeful.  They were able to share their skills and knowledge whilst experiencing and learning about people with disability in the workforce.

Our Mentors report significant learnings; –

  • Mentors reported a 37% increase in their confidence to welcome an employee with disability into their team
  • 35% increase in their awareness of the prevalence of disability in Australia
  • 34% increase in their understanding of possible barriers experienced by people with disability

Likewise, the students and jobseekers with disability learnt valuable skills, expand their experience in the workplace, and built confidence in pursuing their career goals.

  • Mentees reported a 50% increase in their confidence in sharing disability-related information with employers
  • 48% increase in their awareness of different employment pathways available
  • 46% increase in their confidence in networking

The true success of the program was due to the fact it could thrive in the new virtual world.  In fact, 40% of mentees found the virtual experience didn’t make a difference and 23% said it actually removed barriers.

The continuation and expansion of the mentoring program in a virtual world kept Australian Network on Disability connected to their members, and the members engaged in furthering the rights of people with disability in the Australian workforce.