Link December 2018 Volume 27 Issue 6 - Page 54

employment Communication is key Stephen Dragert has worked in supermarkets for the past 15 years. He talks to Link writer Dave Fagg about his work and why communication is key. S tephen Dragert rises from his “Even though my job is not seat overlooking the bowling customer service, people often ask alley, and approaches with me where products are, because I’m a smile and a confident greeting. He waves a friendly goodbye to his always around.” It’s clear that Stephen loves to Steve Davis, an employment consultant at Access Australia. Access Australia is located in Bendigo and has become well-known for its innovative bowling team-mates and sits down work. He found being unemployed approach. Steve is a veteran, to discuss his working life. It’s these very difficult, so he did something having worked for 18 years in the sociable qualities that have made him about it. disability employment sector, in a valuable team member for the past “I was going nuts watching Jerry both Tasmania and Bendigo. Steve says of Stephen: “He five years at one of Bendigo’s largest Springer at home on TV, and so I supermarkets. used to drive into town to volunteer was one of my first clients, and I at the pound. Cleaning out dog met him when he was under a fair well, having worked in supermarkets kennels is better than not having a bit of stress at work. But we were for the past 15 years. Stephen’s job,” he said. able to work together to help his It’s an environment he knows employer understand what he role includes collecting trolleys and And holidays to his beloved keeping the floors, toilets and bins Gold Coast are much more feasible was struggling with, and work out clean. But his favourite part of the job with a job. a solution. From there he’s gone lies elsewhere. “Even though my job is pushing Though he reckons his work ethic snaffled him his current trolleys, my favourite part is the social job, Stephen is quick to connection with customers,” he said. acknowledge the assistance of from strength to strength.” But Stephen said there are difficulties. “Sometimes in interviews you can feel like the decision has already been made before you got there,” he said. “The barriers to employment facing people with disability can vary according to personality. For some, it’s anxiety, for some it’s a physical barrier. And in some cases, employers just need some education about how to communicate with their employee.” Steve is passionate about getting people with a disability into the workforce: “If people are Stephen Dragert loves working at one of Bendigo's biggest supermarkets. 54 employment included, then the whole community is stronger”. www.accessaustralia.org.au linkonline.com.au