It’s no wonder that Uniting’s hardworking Pathways 2 Employment team took out the Excellence in Employment Outcomes award at the recent Victorian Disability Awards – an honour that Community Relations Manager, Vicki Walsh, says is so well deserved.
“Disability has such a significant impact on a person’s opportunities to participate in the workforce. Many people just need a chance to prove their ability, and Pathways 2 Employment helps them do this.
“We are so honoured to have been recognised with this award, and we’re so proud of the individual pathways that our participants have achieved through the program and that so many of them are now thriving in the workplace,” Vicki said.
The Pathways 2 Employment program has supported hundreds of young people with disability to transition from school to meaningful employment, just like success story, Pokuru. Uniting Employment Services connected the 21-year-old with autism with the right training, work experience and an employer that believes in giving everyone a fair go. He has now been employed for 21 months and says his confidence and skills have skyrocketed.
Also highlighted at the awards was Uniting Wesley disability social enterprise, Fire & Clay, recognised as a finalist for achieving positive outcomes for supported employees through its pottery and ceramics business.
“Fourteen of our supported employees attended the event and they were absolutely thrilled to be acknowledged. Seeing their handmade herb sticks sold through Mitre 10 stores this year, bringing joy and life to gardens across Australia, is just one example where our employees feel so validated for the amazing work they do,” said Sue Gannon, Acting Group Manager, Disability Services.
And longstanding Uniting Wesley volunteer Laprini Dimitrakpolous was also celebrated as a finalist for her incredible contribution to the Kids Under Kanvas program, taking young people with disabilities away on adventure outings and camps for nearly 20 years.
“Laprini works full-time with adults with disability, and still finds time to take our young clients with disability away on weekends – helping them build confidence and have fun with others kids their age. The contribution of people like Laprini also gives family carers a much-deserved break, so they can return to their caring role feeling refreshed and recharged. It’s an incredible thing,” said Sue.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the Victorian Disability Awards, which recognise people and organisations who make outstanding contributions to empowering people with a disability and creating an inclusive community.