Since opening its doors in October last year, the HELP Centre of Excellence Community Disability Hub has enabled 100 young people living with a disability to integrate into the workforce. Also in the past year, it has offered valuable work experience opportunities for 70 students with disabilities in Years 10-12.
The $3.3 Million Centre in Crestmead, Logan City, is an initiative of disability employment charity, Help Enterprises. Last June, HELP received a $1 Million Flagship Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to help cover the funding gap with the purchase and fit-out of this new Centre.
Now almost 12 months since its opening, one young employee has provided an insight into the impact that working there has had on her. 21-year-old Rebekah works two days a week as part of the supply chain services business. She undertakes a range of tasks such as product assembly, packaging and warehousing.
Just like any 21-year-old, she loves the freedom that having a job – and her own money – offers. She says her favourite part of the job is spending time with her colleagues, meeting new people and chatting with visitors to the warehouse. She also enjoys the variety of tasks that are on offer at HELP Enterprises and says that it’s exciting to always be learning something new. Rebekah’s enthusiasm and friendly nature have made her a valuable part of the team.
A lucky coincidence connected Rebekah, her mum and HELP Enterprises when they saw a job advertisement in the window at HELP Enterprise’s office at Browns Plains. They decided to go inside and have a chat and found out that the role would be a great fit for Rebekah.
However, her Mum says that life would be very different for Rebekah if she didn’t have the opportunity to work part-time. The job has made Rebekah feel like she belongs. Just like her siblings, she has a routine: she gets up, goes to work, and earns a regular paycheck. She can now choose how she spends her money and enjoys more independence than ever before.
Rebekah has also become more self-sufficient by building new skills in her work routine, such as operating the communal microwave in the lunchroom and using the kettle responsibly. Without employment, Rebekah would be spending her days at home, and have far fewer opportunities to socialise with her peers and build these important skills.
Rebekah’s story is one of many success stories. It’s clear that the Help Centre of Excellence is making an impact on those who might otherwise slip through the cracks. Through the support of Hand Heart Pocket and other donors, young people with a disability like Rebekah have been given a hand up and are making a valuable contribution to the community while building more independent futures for themselves.
Photo: 21-year-old Rebekah works two days a week at Help Enterprises’ supply chain services business in Crestmead.