A quick Google search of disability employment rates presents some pretty grim results. But 17 year-old Sam Linnegar is proof that school leavers with disabilities can land a job with forward-thinking organisations that truly value their contribution.
Sam, who has autism and delayed development, recently secured employment with Target Armadale. He got his foot in the door by completing workplace learning during his final year of school at Lumen Christi College. It was such a success that Target offered him the opportunity to commence paid employment as a Customer Service Assistant from January 2016.
Sam’s mum, Sue, said Target was supportive from the beginning, “Management made Sam feel at ease and their goal was for Sam to eventually obtain paid employment with them.”
Target Customer Service Manager, Christine Williams, said Sam’s work ethic is impressive.
“When Sam first started work experience with us, we weren’t sure what to expect. But he has really settled into the role and is a diligent and hard worker,” Christine said.
“It’s been very rewarding to see Sam’s progression in the role. He’s a pleasure to work with.”
For his part, Sam enjoys the work saying, “I like working in the sound department. It’s cool seeing all the latest technology and gadgets.”
Therapy Focus supported Sam throughout his work experience at Target and will continue to do so as he adjusts to paid employment. Sam currently works a three hour shift each fortnight, but Target is open to providing him with more work if he manages well without a support worker.
Sam’s family is thrilled by his smooth transition from high school to employment, especially after he struggled to find work that suited him in the past.
“Sam has completed extensive work experience in a variety of jobs, but has found it quite difficult to find one that was a fit for him,” Sue said.
“This is a major step for Sam and we are all extremely relieved and proud that he has been able to obtain work he enjoys in mainstream employment.”
In giving advice to other parents, Sue recommends considering their child’s strengths and interests when looking at employment options.