General Manager and Head Brewer of Brouhaha Matt Jancauskas was struggling to fill a role at his craft brewery and restaurant in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast.
The role required an acute attention to detail for a quality control task integral to the canning part of the business. A drop in the quality control could have huge ramifications for Brouhaha, so it was essential that the role was filled by the right person.
It was recommended to Matt that he connect with disability employment service EPIC Assist (EPIC) through his relationship with the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) on the Sunshine Coast.
EPIC is a proud sponsor of FAN, working with employers on the Sunshine Coast to find meaningful employment for people with disability.
Matt admits he was unsure if this was the right path for his business.
“The fear for me, not having ever employed people with disability before, was that it might be difficult and overwhelming.
“Not just to find the right person with the right skill set, but also working through the paperwork and requirements, which as a small business owner can be quite daunting,” Matt explained.
EPIC met with Matt to find out more about the role he was trying to fill and discussed potential job seekers who may have the right skills required.
Local job seeker Mitchell Blood, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was put forward for a work trial and started employment within weeks. Mitchell’s keen eye for detail means he has become integral to the business, checking all the beer cans for quality control before they are filled.
“Getting someone to have the attention to detail from 9 AM to 5 PM week in, week out, was difficult.
“It’s reassuring to know that the role is being taken care of 100% of the time, in exactly the same fashion.
“His disability is actively a strength in our business. That attention to detail is so hard to find, and he’s a huge asset to our business as a result,” Matt said.
Matt says the biggest growth he has seen has been in Mitchell’s personality and his passion and enthusiasm for the business.
“Mitchell has always been able to do the role, but he now feels confident to speak up if he feels like he could do something differently or if something isn’t where it should be. He’s proud of the business and has bought his friends and family up here. He asks which beers we’re doing each week and remembers what they look like. He’s really come out of his shell.”
The experience has changed Matt’s perspective on employing people with disability.
“Looking back now, I wish I’d done it so much sooner. I just thought it was going to be so much harder.
“EPIC has been, (excuse the pun), quite epic! It was so simple.
“For me, it was the support that EPIC gave us to start that relationship, and now everything just clicks,” Matt said.
Employing Mitchell has been beneficial for the whole team.
“The development I’ve seen in our employees as a result of having Mitch as part of the team, and the development I’ve seen in Mitch, has been really rewarding.
To hear Mitch speak about this place and how much he enjoys it and getting to know people, that alone is such a huge positive,” Matt said.
Matt’s message to other employers thinking of employing people with disability is to give it a go.
“It’s so much easier than I ever expected and there are serious positives to it.
“For personal and professional reasons, it’s been so rewarding. It sounds overwhelming but it’s anything but.”
EPIC Assist works with businesses to hire people with disability for roles within their organisations.
If you’re thinking of hiring a person with disability, start the conversation with us today by phoning 13 EPIC (3742) or visiting the EPIC website.