My name is Mary. I am a Transition to Work Coordinator and I have been in the disability industry for 10 years. I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact that working in an ADE provides, and I can share three stories that support this. Grant Francis is a 23 year old man who I first met whilst working with a Disability Employment Service as a transition to Work Trainer, Grant completed the 2 year program successfully and had obtained work experience during this time. He was then transitioned to the employment program and after several unsuccessful attempts at open employment Grant was exited. In 2011 Grant commenced here at Flagstaff in the Fine foods division. He currently works three days per week; he has completed a works skills course and a Certificate II in food processing. Not only has Grant gained employment, his confidence and self-esteem have grown, he has a good network of friends and his work ethics such as attendance and team work are fantastic. Grant has excelled, and continues to excel, he is also very proud of his achievements as we are. Not only employment, but the support, training and individualised case management given to people with a disability in an ADE inspires confidence and the power to continue to excel at everything they do. Written by Mary with permission by Grant.

Mary Heriot

I have worked at Greenacres for almost two years. I work in the textiles and administration sections, which I enjoy. Greenacres helps me with support (on and off the job), reaching my goals and increasing my self confidence. I will soon be working outside of Greenacres in open employment because of the skills I have learnt through the ADE and through the Joblink transition to work program. People at Greenacres are always friendly and it is a fun place to work. Without ADEs, most of my work friends would not have a job, which would be very sad and disappointing. I support ADEs and the work they do. I have had a chance to experience things with Greenacres that I wouldn't have had a chance to do otherwise.
This year, I was invited to attend our local disability expo to talk to people about my experiences - I was very proud of this. I am comfortable, feel accepted and know I can rely on and always talk to the staff, especially my trainer John, Supervisor Anna, Cheryl who helped me get a start in administration and who was my transition trainer and Chris our CEO. ADEs work for ME!

Christen Dittmer

My name is Gregory. I have worked in ADE's since I was 18. This is nearly 47 years. I have worked in large workshops, smaller business units, different companies and government departments doing data entry and I currently work full time for Packforce (Division of Cerebral Palsy alliance) doing a range of tasks that support the Employment development officers and manager. I work here rather than open employment because I get a good level of assistance formy daily needs whilst working here that I wouldn't get in open employment. I have been supported whilst at Packforce to continue my education and have just achieved a certificate 1 in Business. This has been helpful in my current role. Next year I will consider doing certificate 2.

Greg Dean

Hi. I am a mother of a disabled adult who works in a disability employment programme. I have lieved in Victoria for 5 years. I originally lived hear but moved to wagga wagga for family reasons. My daughter was employed originally in the same environment, but unfortunately her job was made redundent after nearly 20 years. I was nearing retirement age, so I decided to move back to Melbourne with the thought things would be better here. I found Amanda employment which was so much better than what she did in wagga. I hope nothing changes as she has found a friendly, loving, and supported enviorment for Amanda . Please don't make unrealistic changes that will force her employment to be made redundent. She loves where she is now. I wish I made the move years ago. Please keep her job secure Denice Leech (Mother)

Denice Leech

My brother Andrew has been working at what is now Flagstaff (North Nowra) for close on 30 years. The job has been his savior and is an integral part of his life. I vividly remember our Dad, prior to his death in 2002, relating how Andy, then living with him at Gerringong, would come home each afternoon and such was his enthusiasm would immediately ask for his train fare for the following morning. The impact on his development, the opportunity to have social contact with others, the motivation to get up full of life every morning, the sense of worth just cannot be measured. Without this we can only guess how he would be today. Money is not the issue, what is critical is that he and others like him are provided the God given right to be happy and productive. The alternative is just too much for me to contemplate.

Mike Mathews

This is a message from the Ability Works Australia Employee Representative Committee:

  • Work is very important to all employees at Ability Works.
  • It would be very hard to find work and hold that job if we could not continue to work at Ability Works.
  • Working at Ability Works provides us with a strong sense of community.
  • There would not be enough support available to us in open employment and because of this we could not cope with the jobs outside of supported employment.
  • Not having work would be devastating for us – there would be nothing to do all day.
  • We feel that organisations like Ability works, who have been told they must make a transition to another wage assessment tool by late April 2015, need more than the 12 months that was provided by the Human Rights Commission. We would say at least two years is required.
  • The transition time should be sufficient to allow Ability Works to adjust and implement its costing approach and work with its customer base to ensure it could sustain probable wage cost increases under a new wage assessment model.
  • Funding from Government needs to be sufficient to cover the true cost of providing support to employees.
  • We would like to see clear and definitive commitment from Government (and the Opposition) in regard to securing our long term employment future.
  • We feel that the public at large do not have a clear understanding of our work environment and the level of commitment from employees.
  • All employees have a sense of pride in our work – ensuring that customers receive work of acceptable quality.
  • We want to state clearly and strongly that continuity of employment is of paramount importance to employees at Ability Works.

Shane Daniel

Philip has worked for Good Samaritan Industries for over 38 years. Philip stated he has learnt a lot of different skills over the years, to many to name. Philip has held a variety of positions at GSI from Packaging & Assembly to the Maintenance Department to Philips current position in testing electrical goods. Over the years Phillip has obtained his Certificates 1, 2 & 3 in Transport & Distribution (Warehouse). Philip is also a valued member of the GSI Workers Committee. “Working for Good Samaritan Industries has made me a better person, I love being part of the organization. It makes me feel good to get up in the morning and go to work. I have made many friends over the years, some I have had for over 38 years. I socialize with the people I work with. We go bowling, to the movies or just catch up for a coffee. GSI has also assisted me with my personal life in connecting me with other organizations.”

Philip Solomons

My grandson works full time for an ADE. He takes such pride in his job and in being employed just like his 3 siblings, it gives him a great sense of worth so much so that he will not take time off work even when he is ill and is also reluctant to go on holidays with his parents and miss work. It is the central focus of his week day life and should he lose his job I really don't know how he would cope. The amount of money he receives is not important. He gets to and from work independently and his work has helped him develop life skills outside his loving family. The harm to his quality of life and the harmonious life of his family should he not be employed by the ADE would be impossible to measure.

Kathleen Wilcox

Hi my name is Anita Donald and I have been working at Self Help Workplace in Tasmania for around 7 months now. Since starting work I have learnt a lot and participate in a range of different jobs such as putting stickers on key rings, folding letters and helping in the kitchen. I really enjoy working at Self Help Workplace because I am appreciated and I have never felt that before. I am a lot less nervous now as the people I work with are all similar to me and it has given me more confidence. I wouldn’t know what to do if I wasn’t able to come to Self Help Workplace. I would be really disappointed because it has really changed my life.

Anita Donald

Our son has been employed at an ADE for over 6 years. This work place provides a safe, comfortable and pleasant place to work. He performs a responsible and meaningful work and has pride in completing his duties and tasks to a high standard. With the wage he earns from the ADE plus his disability pension allows him to be independant, have more self confidence and have higher self esteem. This would not be the case in open employment. As parents we are very happy to see him go to work in full time employment, enjoying and proud of his work. Also he has met a lot of great people in the worksite community Regards Colleen and Ron

Ron and Colleen