We are all different individuals and being different is not a barrier to gain employment

Wed 5 December 2018

A man and woman in a corporate environment pose for a photo. The man is in a wheelchair and the woman stands beside him with her hand on his back.

Image above: PACE mentee Jamie and his mentor, Judith from Lendlease. 

“We are all different individuals and being different is not a barrier to gain employment. We all bring diverse experiences to work and are all the better for it.” Judith Gonzalez-Bravo, Internal Audit Manager at Lendlease

Back in October 2016, student Jamie De Paulo found a mentor in Judith Gonzalez-Bravo, Internal Audit Manager at Lendlease, through the Australian Network on Disability’s PACE mentoring program. PACE, or Positive Action towards Career Engagement, matches jobseekers with disability to professionals who act as mentors, with the aim to help their mentees develop workplace skills and confidence.  

While it started as a three-month mentoring arrangement, the match was so successful that the pair still meets regularly two years later.

“Jamie and I meet on a regular basis, once a month, and have conversations about his career and next steps,” said mentor Judith.

“He has developed significantly since I first met him, and I can see he has become a more confident, self-motivated young professional.”

Jamie is working to complete a Diploma of Library and Information Services and his future goal is to also complete a Diploma of Business Administration. He volunteers at Marrickville Library and Cancer Council NSW and has recently gained a new job at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Grateful to Julia for her ongoing support and guidance, Jamie feels very positive about his future.

“I want to take the experience I’ve been given and apply that knowledge and new skills in the workplace,” said Jamie.

“Judith has given me great advice and very clear guidance. I can now see more clearly what direction I’m headed in and feel that if I continue to meet with my mentor, I will achieve further goals long term.”

For Judith, the experience has deepened her understanding of the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and made her question why companies don’t hire more people with disability.

“There is so much more we need to do in this space,” said Judith.

About PACE Mentoring 

PACE Mentoring offers a unique opportunity for professionals to build their leadership skills and disability confidence by mentoring talented jobseekers with disability. 

Any employee of an AND Member organisation can become a PACE Mentor. All they need is a willingness to share their experiences, skills and knowledge as they support their mentee to achieve their career goals. 

If you're looking for an effective way to build disability confidence and engagement in your organisation, contact Program Manager Isabel Heiner on 03 9621 2276 or isabel.heiner@and.org.au, or visit our PACE Mentoring pages to find out how it works. 

 

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