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19 June 2018

Million-dollar grant empowers students with disability to be job-ready

Filed under: Latest News

Watch footage of the official cheque handover

Students with disability in the Brisbane Bayside, Logan City and Brisbane’s southside will be empowered to transition into meaningful employment by the time they finish high school, as plans for a multi-million-dollar disability employment and skills hub and supply chain services business get underway.

It follows today’s announcement of a philanthropic partnership with Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, who will contribute one million dollars, to assist Help Enterprises to cover the funding gap, with the purchase and fit out of the new $3.3 million-dollar HELP Centre of Excellence Community Disability Hub in Crestmead.

Upon completion, schools will be able to refer students with disability in Years 10-12, to the Centre’s early intervention programs, to build both skills and confidence, to maximise employment opportunities in time for when they finish their schooling.

The 2,500 sqm Supply Chain Services facility will also provide valuable work experience and permanent supported employment for up to 100 people with disability.

Help Enterprises Managing Director Kerry Browne said that without early intervention more young people with disability would fall through the cracks, heading for long-term unemployment and social isolation.

“Having a job that you enjoy doing brings with it greater independence, a greater sense of self-worth, confidence, as well as personal and professional development – which are things we all want in life,” he said.

“Hand Heart Pocket, through their generosity, will enable us to promote an inclusive community and improve the lives of hundreds of young people with disability in the region each year,” Kerry said.

“We’ll be embedded and integrated within 21 schools in the Bayside, Logan City and southside catchment areas which have special education units. We’ll also be working closely with local employers to facilitate valuable work experience for students that have completed the program,” he said.

In addition to the 2,500sqm warehouse for HELP’s Supply Chain Services business, the hub will feature training rooms including a life skills training room, a function room, lunch room, storage facilities and administration offices.

“I really wanted to get a job and have somewhere to go after I finished Year 12,” HELP Employee Mitchell Gray said.

“After a few months doing work experience one day a week, they came to me and offered me a job. Now I have somewhere to go. I’m really thankful for that. It’s such a welcoming place – you know you’re respected.” Mitchell said.

As the National Disability Insurance Scheme rolls out in Brisbane and Logan, more people with disability will have the opportunity to receive support to gain and maintain employment just like Mitchell.

“Help Enterprises is an employer of choice and has vacancies for staff within its network of businesses, including this new facility in Crestmead,” said Kerry.

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said education and employment for young people with disability aligned with the organisation’s focus.

“Bridging the gap to equip students with disability with the skills to find and maintain gainful employment throughout their adult life resonates with our values which are about alleviating suffering and empowering people to lead more independent lives,” Gary said.

“We are thrilled to partner with Help Enterprises on this important initiative that will empower young people with disability to write their own future.”

Photo: Supported employees celebrate the announcement of a $1-million-dollar Flagship Grant to Help Enterprises. 

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