NDCO Program Manager Retires

Greg Lewis will be retiring from EDGE Employment Solutions on 4 July 2014.

Greg co-founded EDGE (formerly known as Project Employment and PE Personnel) with the current Managing Director, Sue Robertson (who is also retiring on 4 July), in 1984 following his Master of Clinical Psychology thesis investigating the possibility of people with intellectual disability securing open employment at full wages.

Greg stepped down from the joint MD role in 1987 to return to the Disability Services Commission, where he established local area co-ordination. He returned to EDGE in 1995 to become Executive Director, Research and Development.

In 2002 he was successful in securing a tender from the Federal government to operate the first Disability Coordination Officer (the pre-cursor to the NDCO) position in WA. EDGE was the only disability employment service to secure one of the 31 contracts across Australia: the rest largely being awarded to TAFEs and universities.

By 2009, EDGE was managing all three NDCO contracts across WA, which makes for a more co-ordinated and co-operative NDCO service across the State.

Greg will continue in his other role as Executive Chairman of My Place, an individualised accommodation service for 300 people with disability that he co-founded in 1996.

The NDCOs join in thanking Greg for his contribution to the DCO and NDCO program for the past 12 years.

The incoming Managing Director of EDGE, Patrick Moran, will take over the role of NDCO Program Manager - underlining the importance that EDGE attaches to the NDCO program.

First People's Disability Network

The NDCO program hosted a FPDN(WA) meeting on 12th May 2014 at EDGE Employment Solutions with telephone links to Sydney, Geraldton and South Hedland.

Current members of FPDN:

Glenn Jones

I am a 53 year old Nhando man, and I have lived in Geraldton all my life. In Oct 2013, my feet got badly burnt. I went to Perth for treatment, however, I was not treated properly and my foot got infected. As a result I had my lower leg amputated and spent three months in hospital in Perth. I am very new to the world of people with disability. I have encountered numerous barriers as I tried to adapt to the world, learning to walk again, understanding and navigating the system, seeking support services and changes to my accommodation.

The NDCO program is helping me a lot in particular linking me with the appropriate services and providing information.

Wendy Wright (FPDN WA Co-ordinator)

I was born in 1963 to Fred and Maralyn Wright. I am a Koori woman from Gwaeigal clan of the Dharrawal nation of NSW born with Retinopathy of Prematurity. I have a guide dog named Freya, we have been together since September 2012. Freya has totally changed my life. Without her, I would never have been brave enough to travel from Rockingham to Subiaco for a meeting. I am passionate about human rights and I am very open to educating people about living with disability.

Michel Simpson

I am part of the Wonmulla Wongatha people of the Western Desert, born above the 26th parallel at Peedamulla Station just out of Onslow. I am a qualified School Teacher and builder and I am a Level One AFL umpire with 700 games to my credit. I live in the Pilbara region.

I suffer from Browns Sequarde Syndrome, which means I am partial paraplegic. I have broken C5, C6 vertebrae, and still have to remind my body from the waist down how to function. I also suffer from short term memory loss, I have to write notes to myself.

The NDCO program has connected me with like-minded Aboriginal people and I am happy to be involved with FPDN(WA) as a forum to present the voice of Aboriginal people with disability.

Samantha Ward

My name is Samantha, but I prefer Sam.

I was born with cerebral palsy. My mother gave me up immediately after I was born, as she was very young and could not cope with a baby at such a young age.

I was given to John and Betty Williams, they gave me the best childhood that anyone could ever have. They did not care that I had a disability and loved me as one of their own children. When I was 18, my mum Betty sadly passed away. I moved to Boronia, which is respite accommodation through The Centre for Cerebral Palsy.

I now live in my own villa, still through The Centre for Cerebral Palsy. It is a nice home but I still have my challenges such as fitting into routines of others that does not really suit me. My privacy and disclosure of personal information is a big issue for me.

I am hoping that my participation in FPDN(WA) will hopefully help me fulfil my dreams of helping Aboriginal people with disability all over Australia who have not been informed about getting assistance, such as funding for equipment, therapy services and support in general.

Ryan Morich

My name is Ryan, I am 20 years and I am an Aboriginal Australian.

When I was 12 years old, a rare form of bone cancer, called Ewings Sarcoma, was discerned in my left heel. As a consequence of its late discovery, I lost my lower left leg to cancer in my final year of primary school. For the next three years I was in and out of hospital for intensive chemotherapy treatment.

Before losing my leg, I was extremely passionate and involved in sports. When I lost my leg I wasn't sure I'd be able to do the things I had previously participated in. However when I was 14 years old I discovered Wheelchair Basketball.

My Basketball has also led me to be a part of The Red Dust Heelers. Red Dust Heelers, with Healing through Wheeling's ultimate basketball challenge, encourages communities to have a go. The program gives people a new and enjoyable experience by raising awareness at the same time providing support and inclusion for those with disability in Aboriginal communities.

Basketball, along with the desire to continue my education, has given me the opportunity to travel across the globe.

Do parents hold the key to educational aspirations?

Early intentions of completing Year 12 and going to university have a substantial impact on later educational and job outcomes.

Two NCVER reports on aspirations provide insight into how young people's educational and occupational aspirations can be raised, including through influencing parental expectations.

The publications are:

  • Educational outcomes: the impact of aspirations and the role of student background characteristics by Jacqueline Homel and Chris Ryan; and
  • Factors affecting the educational and occupational aspirations of young Australians by Sinan Gemici, Alice Bednarz, Tom Karmel and Patrick Lim.

In the first report, using data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY), the researchers found that young people who aspire to complete Year 12 at age 15, are 20-25% more likely to do so, compared to those who don't.

The intention to attend university has a positive affect on post-school outcomes with 15-20% of young people likely to do so, compared to those who do not have tertiary education plans at age 15.

The role of aspirations in the educational and occupational choices of young people is available at www.lsay.edu.au/publications/2710.html

This research was published by NCVER through the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth Program, on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Department of Education.

What is Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support?

Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support (DAAWS) is an Australian Government incentive payable to an employer who employs an Australian Apprentice/Trainee who satisfies the disability eligibility criteria in an Australian Apprenticeship/Traineeship.

A range of assistance is available to support Australian Apprentices/Trainees with disability, including Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support, which is paid to employers, and assistance for tutorial, interpreter and mentor services for apprentices.

How are tutorial, interpreter and mentor services provided?

Tutorial, interpreter and mentor services are available to Australian Apprentices/Trainees who have been assessed as eligible for DAAWS and who require additional assistance with their off-the-job training.

This form of assistance is payable only to the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in respect of an Australian Apprentice/Trainee eligible for DAAWS where the Australian Apprentice/Trainee is experiencing difficulty with the off-the-job training component of their Australian Apprenticeship/Traineeship because of that disability.

The Occupational Assessment supports the provision of additional assistance and the RTO proposes specific additional assistance related to off-the-job training.

For more information:

Contact the Australian Apprenticeships referral line on 13 38 73 or visit the Australian Apprenticeships website at www.australianapprenticeships.gov.au

Abilities EXPO

The Abilities EXPO is booked for Tuesday 9th of September 2014 in Grand Ballroom 1 at the Crown Burswood.

The Minister for Education has accepted the organizing committees invitation to open the EXPO at 9.15am with exhibitor booths opening at 9.45am.

Please pass onto students and/or parents you know the EXPO date and time.

Blogspot: abilities-expo.blogspot.com.au

South West Small Business Awards 2014

The South West Small Business Awards were held at the Light House Hotel function centre in Bunbury on June 21st. The NDCO program and South West VETlink joined forces to sponsor the inaugural Southwest Small Business Disability Employer of the Year Award.

NDCO Dale Arthur and South West VETlink Executive Officer Donna Wroth were very excited to be able to establish this award with the hope that it would assist in greater awareness of the opportunities associated with employing people with disability.

The winner on the night was Forrest Personnel nominee 'Café 140'. Café 140 is an active supporter and employer of those with disability so is well deserving of the award for 2014.

Left to right: NDCO Dale Arthur, Café 140 Alex Garbelini, South West VETlink Donna Wroth, Café 140 Kristy Garbelini and Forrest Personnel Sophie Burton.

Warren Blackwood Future Possibilities for Parents Information Evening

Some of the attendees at the Parent Information Night at the 'Top Notch' Café.
On June 18, 2014 parents of people with disability from Bridgetown, Manjimup, Northcliffe and Nannup were invited to a parent night in Manjimup at the Top Notch Café. Approximately 30 parents and agency staff attended sharing a sumptuous meal and heard presentations from engaging speakers. The keynote speakers were Michelle Aiken, Ron Ng and Sue McSharer.
Michelle's numerous equestrian medals.

Michelle is an equestrian competitor of some note. (See the picture right of some of her medals). In 2011 she won first prize at the Special Olympics competition in Perth. Michelle shared some of her journey from the Manjimup Education Support Centre to where she is gainfully employed as she calls it 'a checkout chick' at COLES supermarket. Michelle is a great example of what can be achieved when you don't give up.

Ron Ng (Current Deputy Principal, Geographe Education Support Centre and former staff member at Manjimup Education Support Centre) gave a presentation on the importance and role parents have in assisting the transition of their children with disability into further study or employment.

Ron indicated how important it was for parents to find out what their child's dream is for the future. From there they can then work with their child and supporting agencies toward making the dream a reality. Ron was very proud to be presenting alongside Michelle, one of his former students, who has worked hard and been fulfilling her dream.

The tables were turned when Ron was setting up for his presentation and Michelle reminded him that his projector would work a lot better if he removed the lens cap!

Sue McSharer ('Top Notch' Café owner) told of the community benefits of employing people with disability and providing work experience placements for the Manjimup Education Support Centre. Sue reminded everyone that the most important factor was the willingness never to give up.

When NDCO, Dale Arthur, summed up the night and referred to the five word speech of Winston Churchill (Never, never, never give up) he was quickly reminded by student Connor that it was in fact only three words!

Connor certainly enjoyed the celebratory nature of the spirit of the evening.

Michelle Aiken with former teacher, Deputy Principal Ron Ng. Connor with mother Shelley Bates.

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