When people join APM’s Disability Employment Services program, they don’t just get help to find a job, they get the support they need to work at their best.
James White recently celebrated two years at Mitre 10 in Barossa and with his dedication, charm and the support of his APM employment consultant Shona Sieboth he is a popular member of the team and the local community.
James, 26, is not only a customer service star for the hardware store, he has also developed his self-esteem and confidence to be an ambassador for Down Syndrome SA.
The Barossa & Light Herald has featured James’ inspiring story.
From the Barossa & Light Herald
James White shares his love of work
If you’ve haven’t already had the pleasure – meet valued Mitre 10 employee James White.
The 26-year-old Nuriootpa man, who lives with Down Syndrome, is much more than a supported employee of the Barossa hardware site – he’s part of the team.
Mr White is assisted by Advanced Personnel Management (APM) Employment Services – a provider of job seeker programs, disability services, workplace health and home assessments, with an office located at Murray Street, Nuriootpa.
In February, he and the team celebrated his two-year anniversary with the company marking the occasion with a chocolate mud cake.
“I love it here because I love the people (including customers) and the work,” Mr White said.
The connection between APM and Mitre 10 evolved after Mr White moved from Waikerie to Nuriootpa about five years ago.
Having previously worked in a friend of the family’s hardware store in the Riverland, Mr White was keen to pursue similar work.
Two years ago, he and his parents met with APM Employment Services in support of Mr White’s desire to live a financially independent life.
What the link has further meant is Mr White’s confidence has grown, especially as he interacts with the customers.
As a result of his improved self-esteem, he is now an ambassador for Down Syndrome SA.
Mr White’s involvement means opening events, speaking with service groups and promoting the abilities and actions of people with Down Syndrome.
Working eight hours across two days, his role includes product stacking and forward facing, assisting the garden crew with watering especially during hot spells, replacing price tags and he is the friendly face which greets customers through the doors.
He also enjoys ‘car service’ which sees him happily chat with customers as he places items in their vehicles and the fact its given him good arm muscles.
However, Mr White’s favourite spot in Mitre 10 is the barbecue section.
He is known as the ‘barbecue man’ by APM employment consultant Shona Sieboth who regularly assists him.
“I love barbecues – a good sausage or steak,” he said. It’s a weekly ritual he maintains with one of his good mates at home.
Ms Sieboth explained how her role supports Mr White to use his initiative to look for items, especially when customers request help.
“I basically help him read bar codes and help point him in the right direction,” she said.
In addition, Mr White is also among the team currently enrolled in online training. He is supported by APM to complete the modules which will further strengthen his role in the workplace.
Ms Sieboth and Mr White explained the position was possible thanks to Barossa Co-op’s Paul Amos and APM’s business manager Leeanne Charlson.
Having previously performed work experience at Foodland, Mr White said he much prefers to deal work with hardware.