Cam-do at­ti­tude

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS - Bryce Luff

CAMERON Whitelaw’s par­ents al­ways be­lieved he was ca­pa­ble of more than the usual op­por­tu­ni­ties af­forded to peo­ple with an in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­ity and high sup­port needs.

So, prior to Mr Whitelaw com­plet­ing high school, they es­tab­lished a foun­da­tion for his fu­ture.

The key, his mum Anthea Lema said, was to create some­thing that matched both his skills and in­ter­ests.

Us­ing his pre­vi­ous work as in­spi­ra­tion, they es­tab­lished Cam Can Ser­vices.

The busi­ness takes away the need for peo­ple to wait for plumbers, elec­tri­cians or other ser­vices to ar­rive and com­plete a task. In­stead, Cam and a sup­port worker steps in to fill that need.

While wait­ing for the ser­vice worker to ar­rive, Cameron, of Willagee, will fin­ish off other tasks ne­go­ti­ated with the home­owner, in­clud­ing rak­ing lawns or clean­ing cars.

Nine years af­ter be­ing es­tab­lished, Ms Lema said Cam Can Ser­vices had given her 28-year-old son a sense of pur­pose, with the busi­ness now fi­nan­cially self­suf­fi­cient.

“It’s been in­stru­men­tal in chang­ing his life,” she said.

Mr Whitelaw’s story was one case study fea­tured in a new Bankwest Curtin Eco­nomics Cen­tre re­port.

Small Busi­ness En­ter­prise Mod­els of Em­ploy­ment: For per­sons with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties and high sup­port needs looked at the role of fam­ily in cre­at­ing jobs to suit dif­fer­ent skill sets.

Lead re­searcher Stian Thore­sen said peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties were of­ten lim­ited to jobs with no de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties or lit­tle par­tic­i­pa­tion in the com­mu­nity.

“This study, which we be­lieve is the first sys­tem­atic in­ves­ti­ga­tion into this emerg­ing em­ploy­ment path­way, sug­gests an in­di­vid­u­alised em­ploy­ment ap­proach for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties through small busi­ness en­ter­prises can gen­er­ate very pos­i­tive out­comes,” he said.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit http://cam­canand­ser­vices.org.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son d479655

Yes he can: Cameron Whitelaw hard at work.

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