There’s plenty to impress visitors to Benalla’s riverside art gallery that sits in a large park on the edge of the Victorian country town.
And it’s not just the colourful and thought-provoking exhibitions or beautiful waterside views.
Inside the gallery’s Munro & Sargeant café, 23-year-old Andrew is a familiar friendly face for many guests as he buzzes between tables delivering food, drink and welcoming smiles.
This friendly, confident young man has come forward in leaps and bounds.
While applying for work, he had experienced the jitters of job interviews but had not yet found the right fit.
During this time Andrew found himself increasingly affected by insecurities related to his disability and worrying about money.
When he met his employment consultant Jenni, she helped him unwind the hold his worries had on him and get him on the path to success.
Read a full transcript of this video.
"I love interacting with customers and talking to people - it’s just a perfect fit"
Andrew lives with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism.
Both of these developmental disorders affect the way a person interacts with the world on a sensory and emotional level.
People living with one or both conditions can have different ways of emotionally regulating, learning, and communicating.
Andrew experiences challenges with his focus and on occasion, emotional regulation. Even social interactions can feel challenging.
“Communicating with staff can sometimes be difficult,” Andrew said.
With support from the Disability Employment Services program, along with support from Jenni, Andrew has come a long way in the last year
“When I first met Andrew, he came across as very confident, very articulate, very well-mannered, well-spoken and well-dressed,” Jenni recalled.
However, she began to see more when she got to know him.
“After a few meetings with him I realised that a lot of it was masking, especially with his self-confidence, and he really didn’t have much confidence at all.”
She knew that was what they had to work on first.
"It’s our goal to put them into a job they’re going to last in"
- Jenni, from APM
Set up for success
“Right from the start, they’ve been an amazing help” Andrew said.
Andrew and Jenni worked together to determine what his skills were, what areas of interest he had.
To start building his self-confidence when it came to work, Jenni and Andrew worked on some interview skills and practice, along with assisting him to look for jobs.
Although his first couple of opportunities weren’t quite the right fit, Andrew was close to finding what he wanted and needed.
He was determined to find a role in hospitality, and he knew Jenni was right by his side.
“Jenni was always so calm,” Andrew said.
“She would always talk me through my problems and help me resolve them by giving me suggestions on what I can do better, or what I can do to process a problem.”
“She’s been a really great help,” he added.
Jenni accessed funding for Andrew so he could obtain his responsible service of alcohol and responsible service of gambling certificates, along with a certificate in food service.
"Even though someone has a disability, that doesn’t mean they’re not a capable human being”
– Kathryn, employer
Working towards a special goal
His role at Munro & Sargeant has provided him with a socially stimulating, accommodating environment for Andrew to grow.
His regular shifts provide the structure he needs, and he has regular duties.
After starting cleaning dishes, he has capably progressed to serving and interacting with customers, which has become one of his favourite parts of his job.
“The team has been very supportive, they’ve helped me feel really comfortable here, they’ve helped me a lot and they’re just a great team to work with” he said.
“I’ve seen his confidence grow immensely. I’ve also seen him learn how to speak up for himself,” Jenni said.
“I’ve loved being able to give Andrew the independence to be able to come to a job and work and be rewarded or paid for the work he does” his employer Kathryn said.
“The fact that I can help him, or our workplace can help him do that and give him that confidence is amazing.”
Andrew has enjoyed many benefits of employment, but his main goal is to surprise his dad.
He is saving for a special birthday surprise which they will enjoy together.
A touching gift, enabled by his hard work and the right support.
Are you eligible for Disability Employment Services?
You can join APM for Disability Employment Services through Centrelink.
When you visit Centrelink, they carry out an employment assessment and if you're eligible, they will recommend you to a Disability Employment Services provider.
Remember to ask to join APM so you get the best service when searching for employment.
If you're already receiving an income support payment, you can also register with us directly.
If you’re with another provider, but would like to change to APM, contact us and our teams will be happy to speak to you.
To be eligible for Disability Employment Services, you must be:
- An Australian resident aged 14 to pension age
- Receiving an income support payment, disability support pension, an NDIS participant or an eligible school leaver
- Able to work between eight to 30 hours per week (with support when required)
- Not studying full time (unless you’re an eligible school leaver)
- Not already working at or above your assessed work capacity
Frequently asked questions
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We can help you find them.