Outlook Employment works with people with disabilities to help them find paid employment and build their careers. We have done this for over 20 years, and over the last two years, we’ve increased our work with other divisions of Outlook to achieve some fantastic life outcomes for our clients. We would like to share with you one of the many stories that have come from these collaborations, in supporting participants to achieve their employment and life goals.
This is Chris' Outlook journey
Steps to Employment
Chris was a student at Emerson Special School. Upon leaving school, he wanted to find paid employment, but needed to develop skills to not only hold down a job but also to experience a variety of workplaces, to find his own niche in the world of work. Chris connected with the Outlook Disability program Steps to Employment and while in this program, he completed Certificate 1 in Transition to Work and also Work Education. This training helped Chris to understand the world of work and its expectations. The staff in the Steps to Employment program organised a number of work tasters and work experiences that included working at Bunnings and Puffing Billy, working in an orchard and factory work. Chris was now ready for work.
Towards the end of two years with Steps to Employment, Chris was able to transition to Outlook Employment with the aim of finding paid employment. A six-month overlap of the two programs commenced, that enabled both Steps to Employment staff and Outlook Employment staff to support Chris. A kitchen hand role was secured with McDonalds under our Golden Opportunities program. There are numerous challenges working in such a fast-paced environment. Chris found that he was receiving too many instructions too quickly, particularly when the store was under pressure. Outlook employment utilised their on the job coaches, Bec and Frankie, to support Chris in the store, until he felt competent and was able to deal with the pressure involved. Throughout this period, Chris maintained fortnightly catch-ups with Nicole, his employment consultant. This was essential for Chris to be able to debrief and deal with the excitements and frustrations of the employment. Chris was successful in holding down paid employment with McDonalds for over a year.
Chris decided that he wanted to complete Certificate 2 in Building and Construction. Nicole supported him in this process, liaising with the training organisation (Skill Invest) to ensure that Chris had the additional supports in place, to facilitate his successful completion of the course.
Once Chris had completed his Building & Construction course, he was keen to find employment. Chris was looking at labouring positions in particular, so Nicole and the team at Outlook Employment pursued suitable job opportunities. At this point, because of Outlook Environmental’s partnership with the Cross Yarra Project, an opportunity arose - there was to be an archaeological dig at the Melbourne metro tunnel sites, prior to commencement of tunnel boring. Chris wanted to work on the dig and was successful in being selected. What followed was Outlook (Employment & Environmental divisions) supporting Chris and other participants to gain their white cards and Working with Children Checks, to complete OH& S induction and to purchase protective gear. Outlook was also able to provide ongoing support.
Challenges of working in the CBD
Chris has been able to maintain between 15 and 38 hours a week work on the archaeological dig, but there are been significant challenges for him around getting to work every day. Chris had rarely used public transport to get into the city. Outlook Employment staff supported Chris, providing training about how to travel training from his home to the worksite. After building up his confidence and teaming him up with one of the other workers, Chris was then able to get to and from work independently.
The role with Outlook Environmental’s labour hire program has been very successful, with the host employer being the Cross Yarra partnership for the archaeological dig. Five months in and Chris had not missed a day’s work, was always willing to take on extra shifts and developed into a very reliable worker. Chris’ employment consultant Nicole has noticed a significant improvement in his motivation as he now feels valued and has clear goals. Next big goal: Chris has recently becoming engaged and is saving to get married.
This is but one example of collaboration within Outlook divisions and with the external stakeholders. Outlook is well positioned to maximise opportunities for people with disabilities, by creating well supported pathways to great career outcomes that change lives.