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employment Autism awareness The I CAN Network has been raising awareness of the strengths of people with autism in the workplace, in a partnership with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). T he relationship between the I CAN Network and ABS started All in a day’s work Ask Arnolf Keil what his ideal day at work is and he’s quick to tell you. “I four years ago, when I CAN Network Chief Executive Chris Varney and company member Damien Watson were invited to speak at the ABS. Mr Varney (pictured) said this led to eight workplace mentoring sessions being held at the ABS, starting in 2016. like learning new things, employment, David is interested making the customers in developing new skills and has Interest Group, a network which over happy and making the improved his social life. time grew to 45 staff,” Mr Varney said. boss happy,” he said. Arnolf is a warehouse “I work in the packing section, I “We delivered to the ABS’s Autism “We discussed topics such as load pallets and supply the lines but autism strengths in the workplace, assistant and forklift driver I’d like to learn more things in the motivation in the workplace, with Endeavour Foundation warehouse,” he said. optimising performance, reward and Business Solutions in Castle Hill, “I like my friends the most.” recognition, and what to do in the a disability enterprise which Margaret Hansen is a veteran event of a meltdown.” provides supported employment employee in the sewing section, opportunities to around 200 creating a range of products from moved to consultancy, with the I CAN people in western Sydney. environmentally friendly bags and Network developing resources for cold lunch bags to adding labels to ABS staff on autism in the workplace. Endeavour Foundation employs more than 2,000 people Australia products. In 2018, the partnership focus “We’re proud of our ongoing with disability in Queensland, Margaret holds a position Victoria and New South Wales of responsibility and is a strong forward to continuing to put the and is currently undergoing advocate on behalf of her peers. strengths of employees with autism a recruitment drive for more “My best day was when I employees like Arnolf, David received the 40-year service award,” Henson and Margaret Hanson. Margaret said. David used to work in the fast on the agenda,” Mr Varney said. www.icannetwork.com.au “I also like helping the other food industry in open employment employees, staff and being the but ultimately decided the job employee representative.” wasn’t for him. Now in supported relationship with the ABS and look www.endeavour.com.au Pictured above are Arnolf Keil (left), David Henson (top right) and Margaret Hanson (bottom right). 54 employment linkonline.com.au