On Thursday 29th April 2021, Val and Brent travelled to Sydney to be interviewed by Brooke Corte of Money News on 2GB to discuss the wonderful things Nova Employment is doing and how we found the incredible Brent.

Listen to the interview
Banter Group and Nova Employment on 2GB

Brooke Corte
Employers are really actually finding it harder to find staff. Companies like Nova Employment, great sponsors of ours work tirelessly to find jobs for people living with disability. Valentina Borbone is with me in studio tonight, Valentina runs Banter Group, a marketing agency based in the New South Wales Southern Highlands. And also joining us in studio is Brent, one of her graphic designers. Valentina and Brent. Welcome to the show.

Valentina Borbone 0:30
Hi, thank you.

Brooke Corte 0:31
First things first, Valentina. Tell us a bit about what you get up to at Banter Group.

Valentina Borbone 0:35
Well, amongst all the fun, we have 14 of us that run everything to do with an agency. So that could be building websites, managing social media, writing marketing strategies. It’s everything, until we prove that we can’t. So it’s nice to be in a regional environment, taking awesome skills out of big city environments and creating something in regional Australia.

Brooke Corte 0:55
Yeah. And although COVID was obviously a challenge, the regions are booming because of it. I wonder if you noticed that, from your perspective.

Valentina Borbone 1:02
Very much. So being in a digital environment as well, we were really fortunate that we received a lot of phone calls for help, because people were pivoting, obviously, for their own businesses. But what we were able to do was help them pretty quickly, and inexpensively. So we did and I know that we saved a numbers of businesses, and we grew in that time. So I was able to put on 2 staff members just throughout COVID.

Brooke Corte 1:23
Fabulous, Brent, nice to see you as well. You’re one of the graphic designers at Banter Group. When did you start working with Banter?

Brent 1:31
About three months ago.

Brooke Corte 1:32
And so from working with Nova Employment and at Money News, I mean, I actually learned a lot in recent weeks about some of the pretty unique challenges that people with disabilities face when they look for work. Tell us about your experience before your time with Nova maybe what was it like trying to find work.

Brent 1:50
Trying to look for that extra amount of support or even understanding from the employer’s perspective, that was always difficult, but getting that support from Nova. And knowing that support is there if I need it, and making sure that they find an employer that is understanding and accepting of the disability.

Brooke Corte 2:14
Valentina, as a business owner, you know, it’s actually hard to find the right staff. I mean, you know, you don’t make a hire easily. Or, you know, it’s never a simple choice. Why did you decide to enlist the help of Nova Employment?

Valentina Borbone 2:27
Well, a couple of reasons. So, it is absolutely really difficult to find great staff. And we’ve got a very particular culture, which is work hard and play hard, but equally, completely changing the norm. So having worked in agencies, where you’re working really long hours, blood out of stone, I wanted to try and change that dynamic. So one of the things that attracted me to Nova was the fact that my daughter has a disability, she’s only 12. But I also realised that she’s going to have a life in front of her where I want her own independence, and she’s got great abilities and capabilities, how am I going to convince an employer that she’s worthy of a role that she can deliver great work ethic, and, help. So you kind of got to put your money where your mouth is, and go well I’m going to ask for this for my daughter’s sake, so why aren’t I looking at that for my own business. So I’d met our local Nova representative. And he had put Brent in front of me over a year ago. And I had to admit, we were too young as an agency to take on Brent’s skill set, he had this fantastic graphic design skill set in animation. So it wasn’t just a graphic designer, this is another level in animation.

Valentina Borbone 3:39
So whilst we had kind of toyed with the idea early on, it wasn’t for another year that I sort of thought, you know what, we’re ready for this, let’s give Nova a call and ask if Brent’s still available. And he was actually in another role and we had to wait for Brent. And it’s like, I’m waiting. I mean, I don’t find the right people easily and it was fairly easy to make that decision to say, this is a guy that’s got great skills, I can work with his disability, because I’m not focused on that. I’m focused on what he’s going to bring to the business and actually lift our business up. We just needed to find out how that worked for Brent. So does that mean five days a week? No. Does that mean nine to five? No, that doesn’t mean that for anyone in our company. So it was about finding the right place for Brent and the way it was gonna work for him. And sure enough, the quality of the work speaks spades.

Brooke Corte 4:32
So there was war for talent and Brent was right in the centre of it. Do you feel you bring something extra to the business in the way that Valentina is described it there?

Brent 4:39
I do. I’ve always worked on my skill set. I have not stopped working on it since leaving school. As always having that difficult sort of support that I needed that didn’t allow me to pursue what I wanted to pursue.

Brooke Corte 4:55
Valentina, as you said, it’s all about ability isn’t it? Nova focuses on ability as do you. What would you say to the business owners listening who are thinking about doing what you’ve done and enlisting the help of Nova Employment?

Valentina Borbone 5:06
Look, I would say there is no right and wrong answer when you’re hiring someone. And while someone can look amazing on a CV, you don’t really know what they’re going to be like to work with until you’re working with them. And that would happen, whether or not someone’s coming through Nova or coming directly to you, and give people a chance. Not everyone can fit the same norms that we used to work in. And I think if you give people a little bit of flexibility that makes it work for them, you’ll be pleasantly surprised what type of delivery you’ll get. And that’s certainly what we found with Brent. And one thing about Nova and I think there’s definitely a misconception is that a lot of the skills can be entry level, Brent is anything but entry level, he is completely next level. And I would have to work really hard to be able to find his skill set in a graphic animator in a regular environment. So why does it matter that someone might not just fit every other day norms, he’s exceptional. I can’t do what he does. None of my creative team can do what he does. So we’ve got a creative team of five people, and an amazing creative director and she can’t do what Brent does. And I think people need to think past the entry level skills and go, you know what, there are great people out there we’ve come a long way as a society and give people a chance.

Brooke Corte 6:29
Valentina Borbone and Brent both from the Banter Group is so great to meet you both and thanks for coming to the studio.

Valentina Borbone 6:34

You’re really welcome. Thank you.

Brooke Corte 6:36
Recruiting? Choose Nova Employment the premier Disability Employment Service, visit Novaemployment.com.au. government incentives may be available.