A lot can change in six months when you’re in the right role in a supportive workplace. Just ask Brett.
Brett moved to the Sunshine Coast in late 2018, looking for employment. His verbal communication skills were minimal, and when he was able to speak, he had a severe stutter and struggled to get his words out. Talking on the telephone was impossible.
EPIC Assist (EPIC) found him a role at a meat delivery company, where he was employed for around 18 months before the company had no further work for him.
Looking for Brett’s next role, EPIC thought Cutting Edge Cabinets could be a good match.
Cutting Edge Cabinets has been building kitchens on the Sunshine Coast since 2003. Around 12 months ago, they moved into their current, custom build premises at Bell’s Creek near Caloundra.
The company produces a huge 60-70 kitchens a month, which equates to 3-5 per day.
After moving into their new premises last year, General Manager Alan Ball was looking for a general hand and placed an ad on Seek.
“(EPIC Employment Advisor) Josh saw the ad, called me and asked whether I would be interested in having a chat about two job seekers with disability that he had in mind for the role,” said Alan.
“I said, if they can do the role, the disability doesn’t worry me.”
After chatting with EPIC about the suitability of the candidates, Brett was offered an interview and the opportunity of employment.
EPIC assisted Brett to gain his forklift licence and supported him through a safety course.
Six months later, Brett is in charge of the forklift operations, receiving orders from the multiple trucks that come in and sorting them into their separate jobs. His role also includes edging boards that form the structure for the kitchens.
“EPIC have been really great because they actively sought work for me and found me employment,” Brett said.
“It’s been great to have them there to find employment and support me now that I have a job.”
Josh reflects on the change he has seen in Brett since he began the role with a severe stutter and low verbal communication skills.
“Brett has come a long way with communicating. Six months ago, he couldn’t talk to me and speak full sentences,” Josh said.
“Now Brett is able to complete full sentences and converse with me very clearly.”
Employing people with disability is something Alan has done throughout his career. David is a young man who has been working at Cutting Edge Cabinets for almost 3 years.
“What you have to think about is the opportunity you can give a person with disability as an employer,” Alan said.
Alan has noticed that both of the people with disability he has employed have grown into their roles and take pride in their work.
“When David arrived, he was very shy and didn’t talk. Now he’s developed into a great young bloke,” Alan said.
“He turns up every shift, on time. While he’s here, he puts in the effort, so I had no fear taking on a second person with disability.”
Part of Josh’s role as an Employment Advisor at EPIC is to educate employers on how people with disability can enhance their workplace.
“Just because a person has a disability doesn’t mean that they would not be able to fulfil a job inside of your business. Their disability may mean that they can do an even better job than a person without a disability, as they will usually turn up happy to have a job, and complete the given task exceptionally well,” Josh said.
“They also bring personality to the business that can bring your staff closer together as a team.”
Alan says Brett has progressed particularly well in the past 3 months, taking his role seriously.
“Everyone likes to think that they have a place in life, and a purpose. If you can contribute to society, through a job or a role somewhere, that’s an advantage, and if you get enjoyment out of it, that’s even better,” Alan said.
Brett says that having an income is just one of the benefits of employment.
“It’s important for me to have a job to make a living. It’s great to have something to do every day, it keeps your mind active.”
Alan knows there are many benefits of hiring a person with disability.
“If you can help society, and then help yourself as well, it’s a great thing,” Alan said.
His advice for other business owners considering hiring a person with disability is clear.
“I would say go for it because the reward is there,” Alan said.
“If you can contribute to helping a person and provide them with the feeling that they’re doing something of importance and of benefit, it’s great. You see the change in them. It takes a month or two, but you see the change in them, and it’s fantastic.”
EPIC prides itself on matching the job seeker with a suitable employment opportunity, which has been instrumental in Brett’s success at Cutting Edge Cabinets.
“Having a disability isn’t as hard as you make it out to be yourself. Everyone really is very supportive,” said Brett.
“Just because you have a disability, there’s no reason for you to think that your options are very limited, because they’re not. That’s where EPIC helped me out and found me a job to suit my needs.”
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from EPIC’s employment services and ongoing support, contact us today.