Compass Group takes out Employer of the Year award and Ability Mate gets Innovation prize. The awards, which recognize achievements in the disability sector, were announced in Canberra on December 3. Compass Group, head of diversity projects, Natasha Caflisch said the food services group offers a flexible and inclusive workplace where individual potential can flourish. “When time is taken to match the right candidate with the right role, diversity employment is a win-win for all involved and has produced some unexpected business benefits for Compass. Our people derive a lot of satisfaction from being part of a team that supports someone with disability to gain meaningful employment.” Caflisch said the Australian Network on Disability has provided encouragement and guidance, including state-based disability support agencies to assist the company with its disability employment program. Compass employed an additional 77 people with disability in 2017.

AbilityMate, NSW, is a social enterprise that combines 3D printing with human-centred design to co-create assistive technologies for people with disability. “We are living in an era of design where human intervention, empowered by technology could reshape the lives of people with disability for the better,” co-founder, Melissa Fuller said. The Community Excellence Award was presented to disability advocate Catia Malaquias from Western Australia. A leading voice advocating for the inclusion of people with disability in mainstream advertising and media, she co-founded the Global Alliance for Disability in Media in 2016. The winner of the Excellence in Education and Training went to the University of Sydney – Centre of Disability Studies.  Its uni 2 beyond initiative supports people with intellectual disability to experience university life by attending lectures and tutorials and participating in university social life. The Lesley Hall Leadership Award was given to Sue Salthouse from the ACT.  She has extensive experience in advocacy and leadership and her roles for promoting equality for women include, co-chair of the ACT Disability Expert Panel advising the ACT Government on the NDIS, and chair of Women and Disabilities ACT.

Caption: The Compass Group’s Rosie McArdle executive director HR, Natasha Caflisch head of diversity project and Ella Cassidy, food and beverage attendant at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital with Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Jane Prentice.