MEAN­ING­FUL POWER TO CHANGE PEO­PLE’S LIVES

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - OPINION - Kate Leaver - Re­porter

FIND­ING mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment can be a dif­fi­cult task for peo­ple with a phys­i­cal or men­tal dis­abil­ity. West­ern Australian Dis­abil­ity En­ter­prises, or WADEs, are a col­lec­tive of or­gan­i­sa­tions that make it their mis­sion to find em­ploy­ment for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. Re­cently, lo­cal gov­ern­ments such as the cities of Stir­ling and Cock­burn, and also WA Po­lice, have part­nered with some of the eight WADEs across WA such as Workpower, Paraquad In­dus­tries, Ac­tiv, Good Sa­mar­i­tan In­dus­tries and In­teWork. Be­tween them, they pro­vide em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for more than 2000 West Aus­tralians with a dis­abil­ity or men­tal ill­ness in a sup­ported en­vi­ron­ment. WADE pro­cure­ment man­ager Lil Paskos said they had re­cently se­cured $35 mil­lion in long-term con­tracts with state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment agen­cies which would give sup­ported em­ploy­ees the op­por­tu­nity to learn and de­velop new skills. Good Sa­mar­i­tan In­dus­tries chief ex­ec­u­tive John Knowles said the im­prove­ment in the qual­ity and en­joy­ment of life for peo­ple was im­mea­sur­able. “The im­pact of in­creased state and now lo­cal gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment has been pow­er­ful, and can be more so in the lives of our em­ploy­ees,” he said. Mean­ing­ful work has the power to change peo­ple’s self-es­teem and out­look on life, it adds mean­ing and worth to an in­di­vid­ual’s ex­pe­ri­ence, which is why it is so im­por­tant that those with a dis­abil­ity are not ex­cluded from the world of work.

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