Group Disability Employment Program Manager for Crown Resorts, Ian Tsolakis
, gave us 5 minutes of his time to share his passion for supporting people with a disability and to talk us through new commitments from CROWNability
Here, Ian shares how the Crown community can support the journey to fostering an inclusive culture across all three of Crown’s properties in Australia.
What was your career pathway to your role as Group Program Manager for CROWNability at Crown Resorts?
One of the early catalysts for my passion and interest in working with people with disability began eighteen years ago when I commenced employment at Mission Australia as a Business Development Manager. In this role, I worked closely with employers and community networks to find employment solutions for people with disability. It was empowering to see the impact that employment made to someone’s life. I realised that gaining employment meant so much more than a ‘job’ for people with disability. I truly believe every person is employable. Gaining employment creates hope, as well as a sense of purpose and worth for people with disability.
Following my time at Mission Australia, I gained employment with the Work Focus Group where I became familiar with the Federal Government’s Disability Service Employment Contracts. Knowing the demands of these programs, I realised there must be a better way for businesses requiring talent to access people with disability wanting to earn an income. It was this thinking that became a reality when I joined Crown in 2014 as Group Disability Employment Manager – CROWNability
What are the biggest challenges that people with disability currently face in Australia?
Some of the biggest challenges that people with disability currently face in Australia include:
- People with disability remain heavily under-represented in the Australian workforce.
- Research shows that many people with disability are not receiving enough support in the workplace from employers.
- Community and social environments are not accessible for people with disability.
- A lack of understanding and awareness of how to live and work with people with disability in the community.
action plan is making positive change in these areas.
What has Crown and the CROWNability program done to support people facing these challenges?
We developed an employment program to increase the participation of people with disability into our workforce using a five pillar employment model. Our CROWNability
Team is dedicated to providing post-placement support to employees of the program, their managers, and to their families outside of work to ensure we can retain talent working in our business. Our post-placement strategy at Crown ensures employees are supported while they are working and developing their career. In addition, we have formed strong relationships and partnerships with Disability Employment Service (DES) providers to maximise the amount of support we can provide to an employee, both through the recruitment and selection process, and on the job. We are also ensuring our capital assets are accessible and inclusive.
What does the program aim to achieve at Crown’s newest property, Crown Sydney?
Our primary goal is to create disability confidence at Crown Sydney by increasing the participation of people with disability through employment opportunities and ultimately, to build meaningful careers. Further, we will also work to educate our partners and other disability employment providers to ensure we continue to attract and develop our people. The key to sustainability of these employment opportunities is effective post-placement support. The opportunities in NSW will help CROWNability
advance our footprint in the disability market and broader community.
What can we all do to support people with disability?
Based on the success of the CROWNability
program changing the lives of over 550 people through employment, I want everyone to know that our thinking as a society must change. It’s important for everyone to support inclusive practices for people with disability. Our everyday conversations must remove the barriers that prevent us moving forward to a disability confident society. Working towards an accessible future is everyone’s responsibility.
Tell us about the new Changing Places facilities at Crown Resorts and what it means for people with disability?
Accessible adult changing facilities, more commonly known as Changing Places, are unisex public toilets designed for people who cannot use standard universal access toilets. Changing Places are intended for use by people with disability who generally require assistance by a support person. Changing Places provides suitable facilities for people with disability including an adult sized changing table, ceiling hoist, a peninsular toilet and additional circulation space to meet the needs of people with complex disabilities, and their carers. The Changing Places facility at Crown Resorts further advances Crown’s commitment to provide an accessible and inclusive environment for people with disability. As part of a national plan across all Crown properties, the Perth facility will be the first to open in the coming weeks.
How is Crown Resorts leading the way in supporting people with a disability?
Our organisation is playing a leading role in changing the perceptions and attitudes of people with disability to create a culture of access and inclusion for all.