Lane 4 making strides towards disability employment by: Carla Westwood

Lane 4 making strides towards disability employment

Most Australians would know there is an unemployment problem in Australia. But what they wouldn’t know is that the employment rate for people with a disability is at ten percent, almost double the national average.

It’s something that Dean Laurence, Head Coach at Coffs Harbour Olympic Memorial Pool, wants to see change.

“The many physical and social barriers in today’s workplace is what is excluding people with a disability finding suitable employment,” Mr Laurence says.

Mr Laurence lives with the disability Hereditary Spasticity, a muscular genetic disease. Dean considers himself lucky to have had a steady stream of employment his whole life. He worked as a chef in many restaurants along the NSW Mid North Coast before pursuing his passion of swimming and becoming Head Coach, inspiring children, and adults.

Coffs Harbour Lane 4 CEO Daniel Mulvey says an inclusive environment for the workplace is beneficial for everyone.

Mulvey hires more than 300 staff over New South Wales and Queensland with a percentage of those having disabilities.

“It’s dependent on the disability and where we can include those in our workplace environment,” Mr Mulvey says.

“For example, we had a young guy working for us that suffered an accident and ended up in a wheelchair and we had to adapt our workplace so he could continue to work for us, he is a real asset to our team.”

Both Mulvey and Laurence believe breaking down the barriers and stigma around employment is best achieved by just giving people a fair go.