Encouraging diversity in the workplace offers significant rewards, experts say


Posted on 12/12/16 in

Hiring a diverse range of apprentices and trainees can provide an exciting opportunity to integrate different perspectives and abilities into the workplace.

Broadening your candidate search when recruiting to include people with disabilities, mature age workers, school students and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, can help improve
productivity, sense of community, and team work within a business.

Apprenticeship Support Australia manager, Lena Constantine, says that expanding your recruitment reach is an investment with significant returns.

“When you diversify your workforce to include apprentices and trainees from all walks of life and backgrounds, you’re investing in a more inclusive workplace, which ultimately contributes to increased morale and productivity,” she says.

A survey conducted by EY – United States (formerly known as Ernst & Young) investigated the different characteristics between generations in the workplace, and found that all generations brought something valuable to the table.

The survey found that mature aged workers were identified as the most hardworking members of the workplace, whilst young workers are adaptable and adept at operating new technology.

“Employing across generations with boomer’s higher rate of long term commitment combined with a more tech savvy and entrepreneurial younger generation has proven to be a winning concept for business,” she says.

Additionally, gender and ethnically diverse businesses perform better financially. 

A report commissioned by McKinsey & Co, Why Diversity Matters, found that companies who actively engaged and welcomed ethnic and gender diversity are more likely to experience financial rewards that are higher than average.

The report said that more diverse companies are able to improve their employee satisfaction and decision making, contributing to a cycle of increased profitability.

Ms Constantine believes that diversifying your search of your next apprentice or trainee offers significant benefits to employers.

“Not only is it financially a better outcome for businesses to be diverse, but investing in apprenticeships and traineeships will give businesses the opportunity to foster and develop an employee who understands the ins and outs of your company — it’s a long term commitment that pays off,” she says.

Another underutilised recruitment source is employing workers with disabilities.

Employing an apprentice or trainee with a disability can also provide businesses with the opportunity to develop a disability support program, contributing to improving community awareness of a range of issues and improving supervisor capability to better understand disabilities of staff.  These types of capacity building programs allow employers to tap into labour pools that often get overlooked. Introducing a person into the workplace through an apprenticeship or traineeship can be a great way to engage and train a person, ensuring they have the skill development and support they need to fit into a new workplace.

“Ultimately, having a wide pool of skills, experiences, and staff with different backgrounds in your business is a reflection of our society and the people we interact with every day,” she says.

To encourage a diverse workplace there are additional government incentives and benefits available to employers. If you’d like to find out how to apply to an apprenticeship position, or take the next step in employing an apprentice or trainee, contact Peter on 0418 910 113 or visit www.apprenticeshipsupport.com.au.

Peter Lowen is a Northam-based Industry Training Consultant with Apprenticeship Support Australia, a Statewide Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider which is an Australian government initiative. If you have any questions about apprenticeships, traineeships and training options in your business and community, please phone Peter on 0418 910 113.

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