The success of a partnership between MercyCare and Good Samaritan Industries’ Options Employment program, which offers meaningful employment opportunities to people with disabilities, was celebrated on International Day of People with a Disability.
MercyCare Residential Aged Care Hotel Services Manager Jacquie Parry received an Options Employment Disability Inclusion Champion award, acknowledging her role as an advocate for people with a disability and for creating inclusive communities.
MercyCare partnered with the Options Employment program earlier this year, with the two organisations working together to help facilitate people living with disabilities to return to work in the community.
As a result, MercyCare has welcomed five staff members to its team at its Residential Aged Care site in Wembley, including Tianna Holmes and Matthew Baldrey, who have both been working part time with MercyCare since successfully completing their initial four week work placement program.
Tianna works three days a week at MercyCare as a dining assistant, where her main role includes serving food and drinks to residents and helping to clear up after meals in the dining room and kitchen.
Tianna’s Options Employment Support Worker knew it would be important to match her to a workplace where she felt comfortable, and having previously volunteered at an aged care facility for more than eight years, MercyCare was immediately a good fit.
Meanwhile Matthew, who has been with MercyCare since February, is working part-time as a handyman jack-of-all-trades, in the yard, doing general maintenance and assisting in the laundry.
Options Employment recognised that Matthew, who previously worked in a timber door factory, was better-suited to a low-stress environment, which his support worker sought to provide through MercyCare.
“Options helped me find the work, then came in and helped to train me on-the-job which was the best thing so I didn’t get thrown in at the deep end,” he said.
“I can have anxiety, so that helped me to get over my initial fears in the first few days, and now I really enjoy working here, it’s a really friendly place.”
Tianna and Matthew have had regular contact with an Options Employment Support Worker throughout their work placement.
Jacquie said she couldn’t have asked for a better outcome from the partnership with Options Employment.
“Both Tianna and Matthew have been brilliant in their time with us, they settled in well and now they are staying beyond their initial four week placement,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter what I ask Matthew to do, he does it well. They are both fantastic employees and I’m lucky that I found them.”
MercyCare Chief Executive Officer Chris Hall said MercyCare was delighted by the success of the partnership with Options Employment to provide meaningful employment options to people with disabilities.
“People with disabilities have an enormous amount to contribute to the community, but can sometimes be overlooked for meaningful employment opportunities,” he said.
“Matthew and Tianna, as well as several others who have successfully completed their initial four-week program with Options Employment, have become a valuable part of our team, which makes our celebration of the International Day of People with a Disability all the more meaningful.”