Published: 14 Jun 2017

When you give someone a chance

Nathan has always described himself as a confident person. When he wants to achieve something, he’ll go for it – provided he’s given the opportunity.

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Recently the 19-year-old secured his first job at McDonald’s in Manor Lakes through Wesley Disability Employment Services and couldn’t be happier.

Vicki Walsh at Wesley Disability Employment Services explains that people with disabilities like Nathan need to be given more opportunities to enter the workforce.

“Nathan is diligent, hard working and a capable young person, who happens to have a learning disability. It’s not something he’s defined by, and it’s wonderful to see employers like McDonald’s seeing the potential of all types of people,” said Vicki.

“Young people like Nathan are ready and willing to work and be self-sufficient. They just require an employer that’s prepared to offer leadership, training and mentoring, which any young person needs.

“Contrary to common misconceptions, many people with disability including Nathan, have completed transition to work courses, like our Pathways to Employment program, tertiary education, or attained vocational or other professional qualifications to prepare them for work. They just need to be given an opportunity to prove themselves.”

Three months into his employment, the avid model maker and Pathways to Employment graduate, received a perfect score for his work performance.

“I had my assessment recently and I got a score of 50 out of 50. I also got a pay rise after three months, which is great,” said Nathan.

“I do a few things when I’m working. I clean tables and sweep and mop the floors. I also empty the fries into the machine. Sometimes I clean the windows too, if it’s quiet. I will get trained in the kitchen later on.

“One of my manager’s is really nice and tells me that I’m doing a good job. She gives me lots of encouragement.”

Earning an income has given Nathan greater independence.

“I like buying models. I’m making an army tank at the moment. I have heaps of tanks.  I went to the home turf of the Hawks and bought a hat. It’s nice to be able to buy my own things,” said Nathan.

Vicki is confident more employers will recognise people with disability as being an asset to an organisation.

“By employing people with disability, employers are gaining loyal and committed staff who play a key role in supporting business objectives,” she Vicki.

Nathan is one of 30 employees who have secured employment through Wesley’s partnership with McDonald’s.

As part of helping secure employment for people with disabilities, Wesley Disability Employment Services provides clients with interview training, job search support, job placement and regular post placement support to ensure employers and clients are supported throughout the journey.