Inclusive culture delivers successful, long-term, supported employment at are-able
The infectious smile of Warrnambool local Bernie has been greeting the Are-able Social Enterprise team as one of its valued employees for the past 30 years. Working in the E-waste division, Bernie, who is nonverbal and expresses himself through visual cards, has been a key contributor to the team through the assistance of supported employment.
E-Waste Team Leader James Chapman believes that a culture that fosters diversity and inclusion has enabled Bernie to shine in his role, supporting him as a valued member of his community to contribute to everyday working life. “Supporting employees such as Bernie to succeed in the workplace is ultimately why the are-able Social Enterprises E-waste division exists.”
Are-able Social Enterprise supports Bernie with the tools he needs to ensure that he can participate in all aspects of his role. On-the-job support and training, adaptive work tasks, and flexibility are all key elements implemented to ensure that Bernie can not only meet the requirements of his role, but to ensure that he can also thrive in the workforce.
“Bernie is a valued member of our team and to see him coming to work every day and having a positive experience for himself and others reinforces the important role that Social Enterprises divisions play within the Employment Industry.” Paul Hughes General Manager Are-able Social Enterprise.
In addition to working with the E-Waste team, Bernie is one of our more socially active employees. As a founding member of local singing group “The Albert Street Boys”, Bernie can often be found all over Warrnambool dancing along with the band. A highlight for Bernie was taking to the dancefloor with his appearance on Australia’s Got Talent in 2019 when he joined the Find Your Voice Choir and danced away to the choir’s performance of ‘The Lion Sleeps tonight’.
The spotlight is never far away if Bernie is around, recently starring in a short film produced by are-able “Technoholics” Social Enterprise Activity group for submission to the 2022 Focus on Ability Short Film Festival. A mixture of Bernie’s charisma and The Technoholics skills placed the submission as a finalist in the competition.
As Bernie starts to move towards retirement, the are-able Social Enterprise team have been working with him ensuring he will have the skills and tools he needs to make a smooth transition. Part of this process has been a shift from full time to part time work with the E-waste team.
Even though the sad day will come when Bernie finally hangs up his working boots, he will always be a part of the are-able family, and we hope will keep his dancing boots on for many years to come.