One of the principles of supported employment is that anyone can work with the right support (if they want to!)
We have heard people say supported employment is different for EmployAbility because they don’t work with people with complex needs… well we think this below example proves that it is not always the case! Angie, our EmployAbility South Service Coordinator has always known to push boundaries and likes a challenge to make sure no one is left behind when work experience is offered. Her enthusiasm is infectious for the students with complex needs who love the opportunity to help in their community and this is a wonderful example of creative thinking to find a placement..
I just wanted to share my afternoon supporting a student from the Ridgeway school for their first ever work experience. M is just 16 and has complex support needs, she is in a wheelchair, non ambulant, no speech, gastro fed, no arm movements and just a small amount of grip in her hands which constantly spasm resulting in extended arms, which also affects her neck, making it a challenge for her to look forward when this is happening. Communication is either by an upward look of her eyes to say yes and direct eye contact at picture symbols.
I was delighted when her school complex needs class teacher asked if I would be able to find work experience for M. I went and met her a few times and noticed she always had a trendy hair cut. So I approached a local organisation where they have a small hair salon and asked if we could go and help spring clean, and they said we would love you to!
So this afternoon was M’s first work experience session, we needed two staff to travel with us as M needs someone beside her in the mini-bus as she may need suctions, as she can choke due to her spasm and swallowing.
When we arrived at the work experience, everyone made us so welcome and then the Hair Salon spring clean began!! I had brought some light weight extending pole floor cleaning wipes, which we could use to shine the huge mirrors and the floor and extending feather duster to clean the hoods of hairdryers, a funnel and tube to be able to refill the shampoo and conditioner containers….it was only a 30 minutes but M’s smile, eye contact and hand on hand managed to compete tasks and using extending hair washing hose to clean sinks and more made this a perfect placement for a young lady looking for work experience.
This Spring Clean will last until July as we plan to complete M’s work experience every Thursday.”
It’s not just Angie who has been enjoying her work this week, here is a text Carolyn, Employment Support Specialist recieved from one of her customers.
“Hi Carolyn just wanted to let you know I have had an amazing week at work, because it’s a fantastic place!
We are delighted to recieve these updates from our colleagues and hear how fantastically the customers they support continue to enjoy the work placements. For more information on our EmployAbility service, click here.