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Walker Australia and Regina Lighting South Australia's employers of the year



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P R I M E M I N I S T E R

UNDER EMBARGO UNTIL MIDNIGHT SUNDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 1991

FOR MEDIA 9 SEPTEMBER 1991

JOINT STATEMENT WITH THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER FOR HEALTH, HOUSING AND COMMUNITY SERVICES, BRIAN HOWE

Walker Australia and Regina Lighting South Australia's Employers of the Year

Walker Australia and Regina Lighting Pottery are the South Australian Winners of the Prime Minister's Employer of the Year awards.

They were selected for the award because of their outstanding contribution to the employment of people with disabilities.

As state winners, they are now eligible for National Employer of the Year, which will be announced at a reception at Parliament House on 12 September.

The Prime Minister's Employer of the Year Awards are designed to encourage employers help Australians with disabilities. They recognise employers who provide significant work opportunities and support for people with disabilities, many of whom have never worked, or have worked only in sheltered workshops.

Invaluable assistance to employers of people with disabilities is provided by Commonwealth Government sponsored employment agencies and regional units of the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service. Services include on-the-job training and support, and advice on

job redesign.

Employment on the open labour market gives these people the opportunity to prove themselves as valuable, productive members of the community, and enables them to build confidence and independence.

Under the Awards, employers are divided into two categories - those that employ more than 100 staff, and those that employ less. National and State awards are made under both categories.

Initiated last year by the Federal Department of Health, Housing and Community Services, the awards are being sponsored by Australian Airlines, Business Review Weekly and the Australian Chamber of Commerce.

COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MiCAH

1991 PRIME MINISTER'S EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS

BACKGROUND

THE AWARDS

The Prime Minister's Employer of the Year Awards were established in 1990 to give recognition to the important role played by employers in helping people with disabilities to gain independence and self esteem.

Their contribution has made it possible for a growing number of people with disabilities to become fully productive members of the workforce - earning a real wage and doing a worthwhile job. Working together, with co-operation and commitment, employers and

employment agencies are helping people with disabilities to become fully integrated into the community.

The fifteen State and Territory award winners have been selected from 111 nominations made by employment agencies, regional units of the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service and individuals around the country. The nominations were reviewed by a panel comprising representatives of the Disability Advisory Council of Australia, Business Review Weekly, Confederation of Australian Industry, the ACTU and the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services.

Walker Australia Pty Ltd

One would think that first class welding would require two hands but not so. At Walker Australia in South Australia one of their best welders is a young man with only one arm.

He's one of three disabled staff with the organisation. The other two, who are intellectually disabled, work in the assembly of mufflers, operating overhead cranes, automatic welding machines and fibreglassing equipment.

Walker Australia, a manufacturer of mufflers, is a organisation that takes the initiative. A few years ago it approached the vocational resource agency to run a welding course for intellectually people with disabilities. Together they developed

a course and the local TAPE college has provided facilities for hands-on work experience. ~

Students successfully completing the course gain the skills needed to compete for jobs at walker and other organisations.

Regina Lighting Pty Ltd

For the four intellectually disabled employees at Regina Lighting in South Australia, no concessions are made. Like the other 22 staff they are expected to become multiskilled and undertake the training necessary to do so.

It's a policy which is paying off for everyone. Regina, a local manufacturer of lighting goods, believes in fostering an integrated workforce. All employees, regardless of their backgrounds and skills, are given every opportunity to develop

their potential, expand their skills and work in different areas of the plant.

For information: Michele Hendrie 06. 289 7219 Patsy Meyer 06. 289 7531