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Tom’s ability worthy of employment

TOM Brown believes his new bakery gig takes the cake.

Mr Brown, who has an intellectual disability, has been working as a baking assistant at Banjo’s Bakery in Claremont for the past four months, and is loving every minute – he will soon begin training at Drysdale for his Certificate II in Kitchen Operations.

Surveys show that while 77 per cent of Australian employers say they are open to hiring people with a disability, only 35 per cent are actually doing it.

Banjo’s is one of several Tasmanian businesses trying to change that statistic, leading the way by taking part in the Australian Government’s Employ Their Ability campaign.

Timed to coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in early December, the campaign raises awareness about the support and resources available via the Job Access website, empowering more businesses to hire people with a disability.

Businesses that have hired people with disabilities report that it brings new perspectives, skills and diversity to the workplace.

Mr Brown’s boss at Banjo’s, store franchisee James McCulloch, agrees.

He said Mr Brown was a great addition to his team with his enthusiasm and positive attitude.

“A good friend of Tom’s came out and had a word to us, asking whether we could put him on,” he said.

“So, we did and haven’t regretted it at all. He’s definitely a valuable member of the team.

“Everyone loves him in here – you can’t be sad around Tom because he’s always got a smile on his face.”

Mr Brown was linked with Banjo’s by disability employment service provider Interact Australia, and Mr McCulloch is calling on other businesses to consider using similar services next time they’re looking for staff.

“I would definitely encourage other employers to get involved,” Mr McCulloch said.

“It’s just like any other (potential employee) who walks in off the street – you’ve just got to give them a chance.”

For more information on the Employ Their Ability campaign, and all aspects of disability employment, visit www.jobaccess.gov.au.

Caption: Baking assistant Tom Brown, left, with Banjo’s Claremont franchisee James McCulloch.