Jack’s passion for diversity leads to new skills

Wed 22 February 2017

Jack at his work desk

Jack Milne, 26, is from Boronia. In November, he started work for the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development in a paid internship as part of the Air Cargo Security Taskforce team.

The internship is part of the Australian Network on Disability (AND)’s Stepping Into program. The scheme works with leading Australian organisations to place skilled graduates with disability into paid employment opportunities.

“People with disability need to develop a personal belief that you can join the workforce and add value in the workplace. Stepping Into works really well to help you do that. They work closely with you so you feel supported. It's fantastic,” said Jack.

Jack’s role supports his team through research, critical analysis, writing policy, and making recommendations for specific projects. He studied Marketing and Business Studies at Swinburne University, attended summer school at Oxford University and went on to complete a Master’s in Business Analysis and Strategic Management at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

One of Jack’s passions is to promote the importance of diversity and he is a lead advisor with the Commonwealth Youth Council’s #IAmAble campaign that focuses on young people with a disability. In addition, his a focal point for one of the working groups with International Disability Alliance. His short-term aim is to present at the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, in New York.

“My long term goal is to work in diversity, as a commissioner in the public service or in the private sector as a management consultant that focuses on social and environmental impact,” he said.

With solid work and volunteer experience Jack hasn’t had difficulty securing employment. “I worked for five years at Coles and I’ve always volunteered. I think it's important for me to be open and talk about my disability, because it has never stopped me from following my dreams. There are so many ways we can add value and it's about finding the right opportunities.”

Jack was diagnosed with dyspraxia at age two/three and dyslexia when he was 24. For him it means he needs a communication based workplace adjustment. “When my manager allocates tasks to me we first meet face to face, then he follows it up with an email that outlines the task with some links to give me a start,” he said.

Jack speaks highly of his team at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, and says that they were open and welcoming to him.

“Working in the APS is a bit like a rainbow. Everyone has their own colour, their own personality that is different. I can just be who I am and it’s about what I contribute rather than my disability. I see the internship as an accomplishment and it's a privilege to add my colour to their team rainbow,” said Jack.

In 2012 Jack partook in AND’s Positive Action towards Career Engagement or PACE mentoring program. He's still in touch with his mentor and they regularly catch up. She encouraged him to apply for the Stepping Into program.

“I want to encourage others to take part in this program, because it really is fantastic. AND is a great organisation that has people with disability at the centre of their work. I'm very thankful to them and my mentor and my careers advisor from the University of Manchester for supporting my goals,” he said.

While the Stepping Into summer program is coming to an end the winter program will be opening to students in April. To find out more, visit www.and.org.

About the Australian Network on Disability

Founded in 2000, the Australian Network on Disability is a national, membership based, for-purpose organisation that aims to advance access and inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of business. This includes employment, customer service, stakeholder relations and supply of goods.

Member organisations have access to a network of highly skilled relationship managers and training consultants, who are experts in providing training, advice and resources to support disability access and inclusion.

Media Contact

Megan Bishop, Marketing & PR Manager, Australian Network on Disability

Ph: (02) 8270 9200, Mobile: 0405 624 232, Email: Megan.Bishop@and.org.au

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