A friend of mine got rejected for a job with a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Partner. For those that do not know there are many LAC partners throughout Australia. I worked for one, the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Here in South Australia, where I now reside, we have Feros, Anglicare and Mission Australia. They employ LACs to gather information and formulate recommendations for NDIS plans that NDIA delegates then either approve or slash and approve in a much more watered down format.
Anyway, my friend was quite surprised. She has been around for a long time. She has worked with all disabilities. She has even sat on Government advisory committees and been in high-level management roles. She has formulated and implemented budgets. Negotiated outcomes and been an outstanding advocate for all people with a disability for close on 28 years.
After working at this high level for many years she decided that she would like to get back to her roots. She wanted to work directly with people who have a disability. Fed up with dealing with policy and whatnot she just wanted to use her considerable knowledge to ensure people with disabilities got the best possible NDIS plan that they could. Hell, she has a disability too and her own NDIS plan. Yeah, she knew her shit.
She was rejected for the role. Possibly, we theorised, because she was over qualified. It happens. She sought feedback from the LAC partner and this is what they said,
” You undoubtly process the skills and knowledge that are required. However, we have decided to diversify the LAC role and target people from a financial and banking background. In this instance you have not been successful for the role.”
Now, here we have the biggest disability program in Australia. We have a person who is one of the most knowledgable people about disability in Australia. The person has a disability, has lived their whole life with a disability and even has their own NDIS plan. Rejected for an LAC role because they are seeking people with a financial and banking background. Let that sink in.
Now the LAC role is an immensely specialised role. It needs a knowledge of disability. It needs an understanding of the barriers confronted by people with a disability. It requires an understanding of disability legislation, including NDIS legislation. The LAC has to not only articulate the participants needs in a way that will get them the best plan possible, but also must negotiate with delegates to explain finer details of plans so that the delegate approves a plan that meets the needs of the participant.
It isn’t rocket science. But what it does need is a solid foundation and knowledge of people with a disability and the barriers that they confront everyday. It requires an understanding of access, care, mobility, communication and behaviour issues. It is a very specialised field.
It is impossible for a LAC to know the needs of every person with a disability. However, a solid foundation and understanding of the many complex issues that are confronted by people with a disability is absolutely needed.
So when I read the reason that my friend was rejected for the LAC position, namely that they were seeking financial people and bankers, I said two words, and loudly – FUCK ME!
I make no apology for my language in fact my words were actually … FUCK ME – OH MY GOD – FUCK ME – THATS FUCKING RIDICULOUS!!
Let’s be clear, there are probably bankers and finance people who have a disability and get it. Good for them, congratulations if you won a LAC position. There are probably people from these backgrounds who may have a child with a disability, a sibling or a partner. Great! Welcome to the LAC fold. No arguments from me.
BUT! – to systemically target people from a finance and banking background because it will diversify the workforce – Well that, in my humble opinion, is just fucking batshit crazy! (Apologies, for the lack of political correctness in that last sentence.)
Let me put it another way. Let’s say a plumbing business wanted to employ a plumber and In their infinite wisdom they decided that they wanted to diversify their workforce. “I know”, said the genius plumbing business manager. “Ill target Doctors” The reasoning is simple, doctors have transferable skills, they know how your pipes work.
Bizarre? Of course it is. Perhaps there is a doctor out there that understands plumbing, knows how to install a water heater, knows how to find a leaky pipe and wants to change jobs. Cool, if thats the case. But in reality, how many doctors process the skills to be a plumber? I am betting it is close to zero.
Thats how I feel about targeting finance people and bankers for a very specialised disability role. A role that requires intensive knowledge. and understanding of all things disability. It requires an extreme level of empathy and a fair bit of passion to do the job to the level needed.
Sure, there are some finance/banker types that may have this knowledge. BUT! – you target that knowledge, and not the fact that they are bankers and finance people.
It’s ridiculous, pathetic and I am angry – As everyone should be!! FUCK ME!