OP­POR­TUNE OF­FICE

Ad­min work opens doors

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page - TRIS­TAN WILLES

THE so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills de­vel­oped while work­ing in an ad­min­is­tra­tion role make it an ideal work­force in­tro­duc­tion for many young peo­ple.

But for those with dis­abil­i­ties, in par­tic­u­lar, ad­min­is­tra­tive work can also help bring out their best to make an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the work­force.

Dis­abil­ity work provider Per­son­nel Em­ploy­ment ex­ec­u­tive man­ager Craig Har­ri­son says all young peo­ple – not just work­ers with a dis­abil­ity – are more likely to lose a job through poor so­cial skills than an in­abil­ity to per­form des­ig­nated tasks. He says learn­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and so­cial skills on the job in ad­min­is­tra­tion gives young work­ers a kick­start to their ca­reer.

‘‘Most young peo­ple move into (their first) role where there is di­rect su­per­vi­sion and, for some­one with a dis­abil­ity, it’s no dif­fer­ent,’’ he says.

‘‘Those in­di­vid­u­als de­velop the skills that those tasks re­quire and de­velop safe work prac­tices.’’

Per­son­nel Em­ploy­ment is part of Barkuma Inc, which pro­vides ser­vices to peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity.

Mr Har­ri­son says an­other ad­van­tage of an ad­min­is­tra­tive role is the reg­u­lar in­ter­ac­tion work­ers have with their su­pe­ri­ors.

‘‘There are many un­writ­ten rules of en­gage­ment in ev­ery work­place and they’re not all the same,’’ he says. ‘‘ Young work­ers, they don’t al­ways un­der­stand it when they first start work.

‘‘In our com­mu­nity, what you do by way of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the labour mar­ket is a very im­por­tant, so­cially val­ued thing.’’

As well as un­der­stand­ing the eti­quette of a work­place, work­ers with a dis­abil­ity can greatly ben­e­fit in other so­cial sit­u­a­tions by hav­ing a job.

Ja­cob Milbank has de­vel­oped his so­cial and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills since he started his ad­min­is­tra­tion job with the Ade­laide Foot­ball Club six months ago.

Barkuma em­ploy­ment co­or­di­na­tion man­ager Liz Hil­lyer says Ja­cob’s job was cre­ated for a worker with a dis­abil­ity through a part­ner­ship be­tween the club, dis­abil­ity sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tion Foun­da­tion 21 and Per­son­nel Em­ploy­ment.

Foun­da­tion 21 had an un­paid work ex­pe­ri­ence of­fer with the club. With the help of Barkuma, it was con­verted into paid ad­mi­nis- tra­tion work. ‘‘He’s had a long-term pas­sion for foot­ball,’’ Ms Hil­lyer says. ‘‘It was just a match made well. It cer­tainly in­creases his so­cial net­works and in­creases his own self-es­teem by hav­ing a real job and be­ing seen as con­tribut­ing back to so­ci­ety.’’

Ja­cob started work­ing eight hours a week but, be­cause of his suc­cess, the role will be in­creased to 12 hours a week.

His work in­cludes de­liv­er­ing news­pa­pers and mail to all the of­fices, as­sist­ing the var­i­ous man­agers dur­ing train­ing ses­sions, tidy­ing and clean­ing of­fice equip­ment and other one-off ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties. Ms Hil­lyer says the foot­ball club role pro­vided Ja­cob with not only a work out­let but a so­cial out­let as well. ‘‘It’s just end­less, the amount of op­por­tu­ni­ties it gives him,’’ she says.

Mr Har­ri­son says it is par­tic­u­larly use­ful for Ja­cob be­cause in many con­ver­sa­tions with a new ac­quain­tance, the first topic that comes up is what he does for a liv­ing.

‘‘By get­ting ac­cess to the labour mar­ket and be­ing a val­ued em­ployee to your boss and a val­ued col­league to your co-work­ers, it re­in­forces your own per­sonal sense of self-es­teem and per­sonal sense of worth,’’ he says.

Pic­ture: NIGEL PAR­SONS

Ja­cob Milbank at work at Ade­laide Foot­ball Club, West Lakes.

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