At a windows manufacturer in Bairnsdale, Joshua can often be heard saying he’s “smashed all those”. But don’t be alarmed – his colleagues are happy with his work.
Joshua, 18, was recently offered his first job at a local family-owned business, where he proudly builds and fits fly screens. In colloquial terms he truly is smashing it – contributing effectively to a successful business despite never having done hands-on work before.
Having cerebral palsy has meant Joshua needs support around the clock, so when he and his family approached atWork Australia’s Bairnsdale office located at Work Solutions Gippsland six months ago for help finding work, his Disability Employment Services Job Coach Samantha knew it would not necessarily be an easy task.
“Given his barriers it was going to be quite difficult,” Samantha said.
Undeterred, Samantha approached the local window business, a workplace recommendation suggested by Joshua’s parents, to take Joshua on as a candidate under the National Work Experience Program. In addition, Joshua had encouragement and assistance from a support worker (previous atWork Australia client) from not-for-profit disability support group Wellways.
This work experience opportunity could demonstrate his capabilities in an unpaid role for four weeks and the company could then decide if it wanted to commit to ongoing employment.
While no one really knew how Joshua would fare, he quickly impressed everyone, including his support worker, with his abilities on the factory floor. Everyone wanted to see him on board, for keeps.
The owner of the company was especially pleased and worked with all the parties involved to make sure Joshua could become a paid employee, along with his support worker, for an initial period of eight hours a week.
Now Joshua is thriving, gradually taking on more complex tasks and fitting in nicely with the team. He has his own mug in the staff room and will soon have his own toolbox. He even has a laminated photo of himself in his work uniform up on his bedroom wall.
Samantha said he has a swipe card for time on and time off, just like everybody else, and gets involved in morning staff meetings, too.
“He really has blown us away with what he has achieved, I’m so proud of him,” she said.