Work can mean a great deal of things to all of us. For some it’s a passion project, getting to work on something you care about with like-minded people around you. For others, it’s a way to get into an industry you’re interested in; that first internship that can lead to bright futures and countless possibilities. It could even be a way to gradually start saving some pocket money for your first car.
But for the hardworking fellas at Hervey Bay Car & Boat Wash, work is a great place to socialise and build confidence.
Meet Riley, an aspiring photographer and proud car and boat washer. He’s been there for just under a year now and he plans to be there for a couple! He washes cars, maintains vehicles, and makes sure to establish a clean standard.
“I try and make sure that every customer comes out with a smile on their face, a clean car, good time, and a good service,” Riley explained.
Riley is looking forward to a career in security and is getting his head around where he’s going with his study. In the meantime, he’s cherishing his time at the Car & Boat Wash with his hardworking team supporting and working with him.
“The team here is very friendly and loving. They’re very nice and we have a good bit of banter and brotherhood between each other,” Riley said warmly.
Riley’s employment journey took off after he connected with EPIC. He lives with a brain disability that can make learning challenging. He’s beyond grateful for the opportunity EPIC has provided him to prove himself and to assist him in his career endeavours.
His favourite part of coming to work is the customer interaction. In particular, Riley loves speaking with the elderly customers, who they tend to get a lot of.
“Sometimes I reckon they come in here just for the chat. They love talking and they’re a bit lonely. So, it’s nice to make people feel good and do your job.”
Since starting his employment at the Car & Boat Wash, Riley has a new perspective when it comes to employment and how important work is to him.
“It gives you purpose, it gives you something to do. Obviously, it gives you money, but money isn’t everything. It’s about the passion and finding it in what you do. It gives you responsibility – and that’s important!” Riley reasoned.
Someone who couldn’t agree more with Riley’s new philosophy is his manager and fellow EPIC participant, Kyah. Kyah has worked at the Car & Boat Wash for some time now, and his superiors will tell anyone who will listen just how far the young man has progressed.
Loving to spend time with mates and go fishing when he’s not making cars and boats look brand new, Kyah brings a hardworking but friendly vibe to the Hervey Bay Car & Boat Wash.
His favourite part about coming to work each day is the interaction he gets with the customers. He prides himself on being able to give tips and recommendations on the local area to customers who are travelling or new to the Hervey Bay area.
He completed a Certificate II in Retail at Coles back when he was in high school, and since then has grown and flourished in his role at the Car & Boat Wash.
It wasn’t always so easy though. Kyah has a speech impediment, and he found this was making it more difficult to find employment. After his brother received a great deal of support, Kyah decided to take the plunge.
He made his way to his nearest EPIC office and the rest is history.
The Hervey Bay EPIC team helped Kyah through his first training shift and answered all his questions about the work. Kyah is eager to learn with a curious mind, but his anxiety surrounding his speech impediment means he doesn’t speak up and seek the answers he needs in the workplace.
“EPIC have helped me and supported me. I’ve built up my confidence and now I can do it all myself,” Kyah said proudly.
“I’ve improved heaps, honestly. I started as the quiet boy that worked here. Now I’m in a management role and giving other people tips and tricks on how to do stuff.”
Kyah’s improvement means that he’s now able to handle the expensive equipment and take on more responsibilities than just washing the cars. This includes managing the other employees and dealing with situations involving money.
Kyah’s the first to admit he hadn’t imagined he could handle all his currently responsibilities on his first day on the job. It’s thanks to his hard work and commitment that he’s become an essential part of a team that he loves.
Kyah’s ambition still burns hot, as he aspires to get himself to a higher position in the future and go for another certificate of some sort.
“Climb my way up the ladder,” as he concisely puts it.
Kyah and Riley’s boss, David, couldn’t be prouder of the two of them and how far they’ve both come.
David is the head manager for the Car & Boat Wash. He’s firm about his belief that his employees from EPIC are hard workers with the right attitude.
We asked him about his impression of Riley, his most recent hire, and what it was about him that got David to give him a shot.
“I feel like he presented well. He seemed to have a good work ethic and was quite keen to get started and into the work force. He seemed very confident,” David explained.
“More importantly, both Riley and Kyah are good blokes. Easy to get along with, don’t have any dramas with either of them. It’s very easy-going to work with them, and they seem to work well together which is a bonus. They both know their jobs well and work without being told to do stuff.”
We spoke to David about the ongoing support he’s received from EPIC as an employer, and he gave us a ringing endorsement. He insisted that with Riley and Kyah it hasn’t been necessary, but EPIC is always ready to chase up and resolve any issues or “dramas” that may arise.
David acknowledges that there is an unfortunate stigma about hiring people with disability but can see the gears shifting.
“Everyone’s becoming more understanding – it’s a good change.”
David remarked that it’s important for people with disability to have meaningful employment the same way it’s important for everyone to have meaningful employment.
Both Kyah and Riley gave our team at EPIC a ringing endorsement, mentioning how much support they’ve had in their employment journey with the Hervey Bay Car & Boat Wash.
“Give EPIC a shot! It’s a good chance to be given the opportunity to find a career and get the assistance you need. Businesses can be very cutthroat, so it really helps” said Riley.
If you, like David, are thinking of hiring a person with disability, start the conversation with us today by phoning 13 EPIC (3742) or sending us a message.