PACE-ING THE PATH TO EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

11 Dec 2018

Lendlease teamed up with the Australian Network on Disability to take part in their Positive Action towards Career Engagement (PACE) mentoring program.

This innovative mentoring program, implemented by Lendlease in 2016, made a big difference for 26-year-old Jamie De Paulo who has spina bifida. 

“Employers are not aware of the skills that people with disability can provide,” he said.

In October 2016, Jamie was paired up with Judith Gonzalez-Bravo, an Internal Audit Manager at Lendlease. 

At the time, Jamie said, “I’ve been working on improving my communication skills, trying to build on my current skills and my overall knowledge base,” Jamie said. 

"Judith is a really knowledgeable person. She has passed her knowledge on to me about how I can break down barriers and how I can better use my skills in the workplace.” 

Judith was introduced to the program through her work with the Lendlease Accessibility Employee Resource Group (ERG), which she co-chairs. 

It started as a three-moth mentoring arrangement, however, the pair still meet monthly to talk about career and next steps.  

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

Jamie recently told AND that he is completing a Diploma of Library and Information Services, with a goal complete a Diploma of Business Administration too. He recently landed a role with the Australian Human Rights Commission and volunteers at Marrickville public Library and Cancer Council NSW.

“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,” Jamie said.
The Australian Network on Disability supports businesses to advance the inclusion of people with disability. The PACE program matches jobseekers with disability with business professionals, aiming to help them gain experience in a workplace setting, develop skills and expand their networks. 

Felicity Ryan, Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager, is urging more people to take part, with the unemployment rate of Australians with disability nearly double that of people without disability.

“The program is a really important initiative for Lendlease to be involved in. It supports our Accessibility ERG actions and will challenge perceptions and unconscious bias about people living with disability. By getting more people involved we can continue growing a diverse and inclusive workforce to support innovation and change,” Felicity said. 

The Lendlease Accessibility ERG aims to raise awareness of physical and intellectual disabilities and mental health, and to increase inclusion and participation if people with a disability throughout the Australian business.

A key initiative of the group is the design and development of an Accessibility Action Plan to clarify how Lendlease will work to create an accessible environment for everyone. 

Judith said the plan is an outward sign of the organisation’s intention to eliminate discrimination and outlines its plan for how this will be tackled. The plan is being developed in conjunction with the Australian Network on Disability.

“We are very lucky at Lendlease in that we are committed to growing and sustaining a diverse and inclusive culture; where people can bring their ‘whole self’ to work and feel safe, empowered and motivated to be the best that they can be. This incorporates our Accessibility ERG,” Judith said. 

To live out our vision: to create the best places, Lendlease endeavour to promote a culture and environment that embraces and fosters difference and benefits from the diverse thinking, experiences and backgrounds of their people.