The nine-week paid training program allows applicants to get on-the-job in-classroom training after which they will then be hired into a regular full-time position.
“Building an inclusive organisation is imperative from a human perspective and essential to fulfilling our role as a responsible corporate citizen,” according to Sephora parent company LVMH.
LVMH has been promoting diversity in the workplace for nearly 15 years and even won the Trophée de la Diversité award in 2015.
Berluti, a menswear brand owned by LVMH, welcomes interns and young apprentices with disabilities, while Bulgari, another LVMH-owned brand, invites artists with disabilities to talk about their day-to-day life and how having disabilities impacted their work.
“LVMH firmly believes that the diversity of its teams is an essential success factor and encourages people to leverage their differences as they strive for excellence,” the company stated.
“Talent knows neither barriers nor limits, and people with disabilities most certainly have no shortage of creativity, inventiveness or know-how. Quite to the contrary, they energize the efficiency of teams thanks to their talent, skills and experience.”
Of course, it’s not just the beauty industry that is actively recruiting people with disabilities. Coffee chain Starbucks has also been steadily building a diverse workforce, hiring and training people with hearing disabilities for all its Signing Stores.
Lisa Cox, author, consultant, and advocate for people with disabilities, said: “Hiring people with disabilities has the potential to stimulate the national economy because the individual is earning money on which they pay tax.”
Cox, who became physically disabled after experiencing a brain haemorrhage which led to her undergoing several operations including the amputation of one leg, said it is incredibly important for all members of society to see people with disability fulfilling remunerated roles.
“This helps remove the damaging stereotypes around disability that are often perpetuated by the media and other pop culture,” she said.
“Having and holding fulfilling and remunerated employment is such a big part of being a contributing member of society. Something that many PWD have sadly not had the chance to experience because of myths around disability.”
Julie Mathers, founder and CEO of vegan and cruelty-free online shop Flora & Fauna, said 20 per cent of the people in her team have disabilities.
“In our society, 18 per cent have disabilities, so it is important this is represented in every business,” Mathers said. “And we have a really rich diverse and inclusive culture which is important for every person otherwise we end up with a fairly skewed view of society that just isn’t accurate.”
Ways companies can adopt disability-inclusive practices:
1. Mathers said companies should give training to PWD, as they would with others. Companies should also ensure everyone in the team is prepared to work with customers and team members with disabilities.
2. Help all staff members understand the challenges that people with disability face and encourage them to contribute solutions, she also advised.
3. Cox said the key is not to make automatic assumptions that a PWD is less capable because of his or her disability.
4. Mathers pointed to several agencies that can assist companies that are interested in hiring PWD.
“Nova Recruitment is one and also just be open to it, most of our team have come to us directly because we employ people with disabilities,” she said. “You can also contact Down Syndrome Australia and other charities that can point you in the right direction when it comes to recruitment.”
5. Cox said it is also important for companies to recognise that each PWD is different and will have different requirements.
“In my case, all I required in my last role role was a wheelchair accessible bathroom (which was already there), but others may need other additions or none at all,” she said. “As an employer, I believe you have a right to ask about the need for additional requirements (remembering that there not be any) so that the employment process is better for all involved.”
Greg Harford, Retail NZ chief executive, said there are endless opportunities to include people with disability in the retail workforce.
“Many different roles can be filled by people with a disability, and many firms want to reflect the diversity of their community in their team,” Harford said.
He said there are no specific tax breaks for hiring people with a disability, but some support may be available from Work and Income to move people into the workforce.
But according to Mathers, hiring people with disabilities is something businesses should be doing and shouldn’t need encouragement to do it.
“From our experience we have a very rich and diverse culture and a strong culture, and that should be incentive enough,” she said.