Victorians with disability will have better access to career opportunities through a new sports initiative backed by the State Government.

Minister for Disability, Luke Donnellan announced a $100,000 Jobs Victoria Innovation Fund grant for the Sportswork program, a partnership between Basketball Victoria and Echo Australia. The program will help connect people with a disability to meaningful employment opportunities by arming them with new skills, building their confidence and social networks. It also provides pathways to employment through individual support and job plans, basketball skills development, leadership and career development, as well as connections to employers, including those engaged in the basketball community in Victoria.

Recent research shows there is a demonstrable link between participation in sport and physical activity with increased rates of employment for people with disability. Basketball Victoria, the largest basketball organisation in Australia, last year had up to 7,500 people involved in its inclusive programs including Wheelchair Basketball and the VicHealth Cup.

The grants are part of the $5 million invested by the government to create new economic participation opportunities for people with disability under the ‘Every opportunity: Victorian economic participation plan for people with disability 2018-2020.’ The Jobs Victoria Innovation Fund provides support to new and innovative approaches to employment and delivery of services for long-term unemployed jobseekers facing barriers.

We want to ensure absolutely everybody benefits from a strong and growing economy, including people with disability,” the minister said.  “We are tearing down employment barriers to help more people with disability to gain meaningful and sustainable career opportunities.”