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ImpactInstitute secures $1.4M grant for disability employment expos

2 min read

ImpactInstitute announces it has secured a $1.4 million grant from the federal government to spearhead a series of disability employment expo events across Australia.   

The grant gives ImpactInstitute the ability to host life-changing events for people with disability, including those with high support needs, creating opportunities to meet future employers.   

“Our extensive experience and comprehensive support for people with disabilities uniquely qualifies us to host these expos,” said Kathryn Carey, Head of Events at ImpactInstitute.  

ImpactInstitute has organised a total of 37 in-person events across metropolitan and regional locations, and a national virtual expo, since 2014. Its existing My Future, My Choice Disability Expo series has directly supported more than 150,000 people with disabilities, their families, carers, and industry professionals, making it the largest and longest-running disability expo program in Australia.   

Together the My Future, My Choice Disability and Disability Employment expos are expected to attract more than 1,500 exhibitors and 60,000 attendees across Australia in 2025.  

Urgent challenge   

Bolstering workforce participation among people with disabilities is an urgent challenge recognised by government, industry and the community.  

The statistics are staggering. In 2018, nearly 2.1 million Australians of working age were living with disabilities. 1Among them, approximately 1.1 million face significant barriers due to their disabilities, hindering their access to employment opportunities.   

Targeted interventions are urgently required as employment rates for people with disabilities remain alarmingly low – approximately 50% of the working-age population are currently not employed.   

“We recognise the unique challenges faced by people with disabilities and are deeply passionate about empowering this community to access employment opportunities and ensure that workplaces are inclusively designed to accommodate people with high support needs,” said Carey.   

Karen Rainbow, CEO of APM Employment Services, a strategic partner of the Disability Expo Program stated that as Australia’s largest provider of Disability Employment Services, APM every day sees how people with disability make a lasting contribution to workplaces across the country. 

“For too long, too many people with disabilities have been locked out of the job market through no fault of their own” 

“Much of this is due to outdated perception issues that we all need to work at to change. People with disabilities bring a wealth of talent, skills and motivation to our workplaces, and they help build a truly inclusive Australia.”  

Mel Harrison, disability advocate and MC at the My Future, My Choice Disability Expos who has been in a wheelchair since the age of 14, agrees.  

“As a person with a disability, I understand how crucial it is for workplaces to be genuinely inclusive, going beyond mere accessibility to foster a sense of belonging.” 

Harrison highlighted that while accessibility is essential, true inclusion ensures that individuals feel valued and accepted in the workplace. 

“Employment has been transformative for me. It has enhanced my well-being, provided financial security, and fostered a sense of identity.” 

“It’s essential for people with disabilities to feel equal and included in the workforce, especially when societal barriers often make them think otherwise,” added Harrison.

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Pearl Dy is a community manager and journalist. She is passionate about business and development particularly involving not-for-profits, charity and social entrepreneurship.


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