Pathway to Employment

Newcastle local, and recent school leaver Caleb is happy and friendly in nature. The world is his oyster as he looks to the future and working towards achieving his goals. Living with a disability has at times presented some challenges, but he has always faced them head on, including when wanting to find his first job.

Caleb, who has down syndrome, has just secured his first job at McDonald’s Warners Bay. Working front of house in the restaurant, he’ll be the friendly welcoming face for customers as he ensures the cleanliness and tidiness of the dining room.

Securing the role has been the culmination of Caleb’s hard work, determination and goal setting.  Caleb knew he needed some extra training and support after leaving school, to gain the skills required to achieve his employment goals. Through his NDIS funding, he accessed the School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) package, through local Disability Employment specialist, Job Centre Australia (JCAL).

Through the SLES program and whilst trying to decide which career path he’d like to take, Caleb gained work experience in industries including hospitality, retail and hairdressing and took part in several industry visits and pre-employment workshops. He also learnt independent living skills such as cooking and cleaning, travel training and other employment skills. “This training, coupled with meeting new friends and the social aspect of the program really built his confidence in new workplace environments, and helped Caleb to prepare for entering the workforce” Said Anthony Workman, JCAL’s, Hunter Operations Manager.

Caleb progressed leaps and bounds throughout his time in the SLES program and moved onto JCAL’s Disability Employment Service. Here it was identified that Caleb’s interests and skills were suited to a role in hospitality. Through the partnership that JCAL have with McDonald’s as a “Preferred Supplier of People” JCAL secured an interview and assisted Caleb through the application process. “Now that Caleb is working, we’ll continue to support him through his employment with any required training to see success for both Caleb and the McDonald’s restaurant”, said Anthony.

“McDonald’s are a fabulous inclusive employer and we’re proud to partner with them to create a diverse workforce that is reflective of the communities in which we operate.

“JCAL offer young people with disabilities a clear pathway to employment. Our seemless transition from SLES into our Disability Employment Services program is proving highly successful in preparing youth for employment and ensuring longevity within the workplace” said Anthony. “Caleb is a perfect example of the success of our programs and the strong partnership that we have with local McDonald’s restaurants. It is great to see our participants achieving their life and employment goals and we look forward to seeing both Caleb, and all our participants thrive in their industries of choice.”

See the article as published in the Newcastle Herald