Re-imagining disability employment

We were delighted to host BRITE Services CEO, Nick MacHale, to talk about his insights into disability employment.

He addressed a packed forum at OAK Possability’s Hobart office on 3 November, with attendees representing a wide range of disability enterprises around the state.

Nick brought a fresh perspective and his Irish sense of humour to discuss a range of issues facing disability employment nationally, illustrated with observations from his own experiences at BRITE.

He joined BRITE Services just one year ago from a largely commercial career background and is unapologetic for bringing a commercial perspective to the organisation.

“I see that there is a symbiotic relationship between the commercial aspects of a business and the employment of people with disabilities,” he told the forum.

Nick’s observations of his business operations over many months revealed that while some areas where highly skilled and competitive operations, other areas had swung away from commercial imperatives.

“I saw an underlying fear of automation, in some instances triple handling of products, stretching out work to keep people occupied and general inefficient practices.

“On occasion, I saw staff defending not meeting commercial deadlines because our employees have a disability.”

Nick said he wanted to change that cultural setting.

“My view is that work needs to be respectful and purposeful work,” he said.

“And we will build trust with our customers by no longer taking on work unless we can deliver on commitments.”

BRITE Services was also seeking to better understand the needs of people with disability seeking employment and their families.

“We need to consider how we match our employment offering to meet higher community expectations,” he said.

“We start with an outcome in mind and measure our success against this.”

BRITE Services operates a packaging business, plant nursery and training service in Broadmeadows, Victoria. He was a guest of Oak Possability, and visited our three social enterprises during his trip to Hobart.

Image: National Disability Services Business Manager Andrew Brain and CEO Drew Beswick join BRITE Services CEO Nick MacHale.