We’d like to think we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation, and not just in building hose reels. ReCoila has long been an advocate of fair employment for all and is helping break the misconception that staff with a disability are less suited to work in a manufacturing facility, whereas in reality, they can be as productive as anybody.
ReCoila’s association with Vision Australia’s employment service recently made a hugely positive impact on the life of an individual who just wanted a fair go. For Sydney’s Alec Allen, the tireless job hunt is over. Alec has Optic Atrophy, which means the optic nerve that carries information to the brain is damaged. According to Vision Australia Team Manager Marion Rivers, when Mr Allen first came to Vision Australia for help, he hadn’t worked for 15 years.
“Employers are often concerned about safety when employing someone with a vision impairment,” said Ms Rivers.
“This is where Vision Australia’s specialist staff can demonstrate that by making some minor adjustments to the workplace, safety doesn’t need to be a big issue.”
Alec’s boss, our Production Manager Patrik Westerholm, couldn’t agree more. “Alec is exceeding all our expectations. We are very proud to have him as a team member. The sub-component assembly work he is doing is stationary so it was easy to set up a place for him.”
“I would tell other employers considering hiring someone with a vision impairment not to be nervous about it. Vision Australia has opened up our eyes for what is possible to achieve”, explains Patrik, with no pun intended.
ReCoila also employed another vision-impaired employee – Lesley Mortom – who is now retired after many years service, and we have regularly supported and welcomed staff with other disabilities into our production lines.
Statistics show that more than 63% of people who are blind or have low vision and who want to work are unable to find suitable employment. This is five times the national average. According to a Vision Australia survey, one of the biggest factors preventing people who are blind or have low vision finding work is employer perception.
“It is vital that employers give people like Alec the chance to contribute. It can make a huge difference not only to the employee, but also to the employer,” Vision Australia’s Ms Rivers said.