My son & daughter-in-law both work for Wangarang Industries in Orange. It is not only a workplace which can supplement their income but also a provides a source of pride and purpose. The caring nature of their workplace allows them flexibility when personal & health problems arise which they may not be afforded in a regular workplace.
Our daughter is 48 yrs old and has a mild physical and intellectual disability, including a speech defect, and has worked for two Disability Services over many years. This came about because when she left school after year 10 she was "taken on" by a large company on as a process worker. HOWEVER the other employees (mainly women) complained that she did not work as fast as they did so the employer dismissed her. After several other failed attempts in open employment and rather than stay at home, she approached a Sheltered Workplace for employment where she stayed for many years before moving to a different Sheltered Workplace. The early experiences affected her so much that she became reluctant to try open employment again. She is very happy working and says the small wages she receives is of little importance as the only friends and social activities she has are all around fellow disabled people. We bought her a unit ages ago and she manages her finances without help from us, lives independently, and is happy with her life. Our concern is that when we are no longer around and jobs are no longer protected for disabled people that she will be completely isolated. PLEASE DO NOT DRASTICALLY CHANGE GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR ADEs or accept the suggestions of so-called 'well-meaning people' who know very little or nothing of the benefits disabled people receive by being employed by ADEs,
I have worked in the ADE sector for more than 20 years, as a production supervisor, support worker and senior manager. Why? Because I believe that ADEs make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities and I wanted (and want) to be part of that. I also have a sister who works in an ADE and as a person with a disability, benefits directly from the employment opportunities that have been afforded to her and she has accepted throughout her journey. The advocate groups and individuals who have made it their calling to brand ADEs as exploiters and backwaters where people are systematically disadvantaged have themselves lacked the vision to look at the offerings from ADE environments in a more balanced fashion. I have read the testimonials on this site and they provide a wonderful overview of the benefits associated with ADE employment that those involved are only too familiar with. I wish to publicly echo these sentiments. The employees that I see coming to work every day are not down cast nor wearing the signs of exploitation (some of our advocates may argue that they are not capable of recognising this, which in itself says more about the advocates than it does about our employees). In the quest for a utopian employment environment, where all those who wish to work in “mainstream” and competitive situations, are afforded the opportunity and support to do so, some advocates have dismissed ADEs as part of some sort of dystopia instead of taking a step back and accepting the pivotal role these organisations play for those who do find that the rigours of reality serve as a barrier to the achievement of employment outside of the ADE system.
The current uncertainty and confusion around wage determination issues within the ADE sector needs to be rectified. The ultimate solution needs to carefully address the concept of a “fair pay for a fair day’s work” concept, but it also must acknowledge the productive and operational capacity of employees. Some would argue that a well administered BSWAT did exactly this. And what of our poor unfortunate employees, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends, who have been thrust into the cold and menacing world of ADEs, disempowered to the point that they know no better? Are these the same people that I see achieving work goals, forming relationships, getting married, travelling (my sister is as world travelled as they come), lamenting their footy team’s performance, forming aspirations for the future and just simply enjoying their work? Something’s just not adding up here…………..
Wangarang is a great place to work. If we did not come here to work, we would all be sitting at home, twiddling our thumbs looking at for walls. If anyone has the time, you should come and have a look at the work we do so that you can see that we have a real job and we are doing real work. We all have a disability and I think if we all went out into the workforce, I do not think we could do the work.
I like working with all my colleagues. It's good to have a reason to get up and get out of the house sometimes. Although I am pretty independent, it's good to work in an ADE for when I do need some support. On days I am not at work I try to do other things. It would be hard to find open employment again although I used to work in a variety of jobs, I now need a bit more support.
I am the mother of an intellectually disabled son who works for Disability Services at their Seven Hills factory. My son loves going to work. It gives him a feeling of satisfaction and usefulness. Even when he is sick he wants to go to work. My husband and I are deeply grateful for the employment our son enjoys and we would hate to see it terminated. Please make it continue into the future.
I have worked at an ADE for 20 years. I used to have anxiety attacks but am much better now thanks to the support I recieve at work. I like it here because we get new jobs. We have a great trainer. The jobs I do include cherry boxes, bottle washing and any other jobs I am asked to do. The people are friendly and so are the staff and management. It's a good place to work. We help other people when they first start employment. I am starting a Certificate II Cleaning course. I am an Employee Delegate and I am on the Work Health and Safety Committee.
ADE works well for my son who attends Windgap ADE. He is so proud to be able to go off to work, just like his brothers. He walks to the bus stop and catches two buses there and back. When he walks in the door he says, I have worked hard today Mum. In actual fact, when he turned 21 (he is 24 now) in his speech he said in front of 150 guests that he was not a "bludger" as he worked at ADE (it was quite hilarious but very touching as well). He also loves the social aspect and enjoys drinks after work and all the "normal" things. Without ADE he would lose his self-worth and self-respect and his purpose in life as this revolves around ADE - what would he do with his day? I am glad he was born in this enlightened age and does not have to fill in his time "basket weaving" as in the old days.
Carol & Michael
I have an older brother, now in his 60's, who has had cerebral palsy since birth. For close to thirty years now he has been working at Windgap where he is provided meaningful work and social interaction which he would not otherwise have. They have given him self worth. They are also providing direction and guidance with my brothers future and have setup "moving to retirement" initiatives after the government attempts at this failed for us. The staff and administration always have the employees best interests at heart. At times there have been difficulties with government legislation brought about by government bodies not living with the struggles that we families deal with on a daily basis. ADE's work, that is a given. Let's not make the process any more difficult than it has to be.
My daughter, Lorelle, has worked at HiCity for almost three years. She loves her work and is reluctant to miss even one day. Lorelle takes pride in the particular task assigned to her and enjoys telling me what she has done during her day. The staff are supportive in giving Lorelle the opportunity to try working in different areas. This year she was elected to represent fellow workers at the committee meetings. She felt extremely honoured to be asked to do this. HiCity has provided her with a wonderful network of friends and a wide and varied social life. The HiCity Social Club gives the workers the opportunity to go on trips, see films and shows and participate in sporting activities. I have never seen Lorelle so happy and confident as she is now. HiCity encompasses more than just a workplace. It is integral in the wellbeing of all who work there because it provides a place where they feel valued for what they do. It is a place where they can make and maintain long lasting friendships, so important to us all. Please look further than in monetary terms and keep ADEs operating the way there are.