James’ journey to employment with MWLFS

Meet James, a participant of Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions (MWLFS) who has come a long way since starting with Mai-Wel back in 2013. Mai-Wel has watched James grow, from graduating high school and building the skills needed for work, to finding meaningful employment in December 2019 at The Kitchen at Waterford.

James first began his journey to employment with Mai-Wel when he was in high school, where he began accessing MWLFS’ Get Started program aimed at preparing high school students for the world of work after school. In 2017, James returned to Mai-Wel using his NDIS School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) funding to access Step Up, a program that helps school leavers build capacity and confidence needed to join the world of work.

As part of the Step Up program, James was able to build fitness for work and learn important skills he would use in employment. This included spending time in Mai-Wel’s Thrive Café, a simulated work space that enabled James to grow and develop as a worker in a supportive environment.

By 2018, James’ work capacity, skills and confidence had grown to the point that he was ready to officially start the job hunt. He joined Mai-Wel’s Disability Employment Service (DES) and participated in a number of hospitality-based work experiences and completed several courses including Infection Control and a Certificate II in Hospitality. During this time, James also worked on his interview skills, resume writing and work trials.

When Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions Post-Placement Support staff set up work experience for James, they were already familiar with the workplace expectations and knew James would be well supported. Over several weeks, James worked hard and proved he was reliable, committed and ready to work. He was offered two shifts a week at the new café in Chisholm, “The Kitchen at Waterford”. In his role, James offers customer service by taking orders, serving coffee and food, handling cash and cleaning.

With the assistance of Mai-Wel’s Post Placement Support (PPS) and NDIS funding, James was able to start working with on-the-job support during his shifts. This included the PPS team applying for government funding that would pay for automatic doors to be installed, which increase James’ independence. Having limited use of his left hand, the automatic door has allowed James to walk around the café freely, without having to juggle carrying coffees and meals while also trying to open a door.

Unfortunately the impact of COVID-19 upon the café prevented James from working for a brief period, however he has since re-commenced employment and has been working hard to get to know the regulars and their favourite coffee orders. Since re-starting work in the COVID-19 landscape, James has developed a good understanding of safety requirements and always makes sure he is sanitising and following the proper processes.

James has been getting lots of positive feedback, both from customers and his employers. He is known for being pleasant, helpful and always trying his best.

In the future, James aims to increase his working hours and improve his independence in working life.

“It is important for my independence and gaining a sense of normality in my life. Now that I am working, I’m not sitting at home; I’m keeping busy and have improved my confidence.” James explains.

Enquiries regarding Mai-Wel LabourForce Solutions can be made by calling (02) 4015 8400 or visiting mwlfs.com.au.