Local businesses have joined forces with disability service provider, Barkuma, to employ people with disability. Barkuma’s Disability Employment Service (DES) is free and supports people with disability, right through from recruitment preparation to maintaining a job.
KFC and Big W in Adelaide’s North are celebrating the benefits of their inclusive workforce. Amanda, KFC Store Manager, had no previous experience connecting with people with disability before meeting Ruth in 2014.
“Barkuma reached out to us. We met with Ruth and her job coordinator, Kerry. Ruth was new to working, so together, we identified her skills and the best role for her,” Amanda said.
Seven years later, Ruth is a popular and valued member of the KFC team and a keen artist.
“Ruth loves her work and the sense of purpose. She loves to hear positive feedback. Our area coaches come in and praise her, saying that we need a Ruth in every store,” said Amanda.
Amanda believes that Ruth’s job has given her the confidence to pursue her passion; Ruth is now combining her KFC role with studying a Diploma of Art at TAFE SA.
“For other employers who are thinking about taking on people with disability, I say just do it! It’s massively rewarding. We have gone on to employ other people with disability,” said Amanda.
“Also, Barkuma’s job coordinators are amazing. They are such lovely people who genuinely care; it’s not just a job for them.”
For Chantelle, 2IC at Big W Gawler, the benefits of employing people with disability are enormous.
“Aiden joined our team six months ago and is working at check out and as a customer champion. He has such a personable approach; the customers love him, and he has made good friends here,” she said.
“From an employer’s perspective, we haven’t really faced any challenges. The Barkuma job coordinators are super helpful and friendly. They learn the job too, so they can support Aiden. It’s fantastic.”
Chantelle believes that everyone deserves an equal opportunity, “We can always find a role that works. It’s really hard to find people that want to be at work, but Aiden is so dedicated and loves being here.”
Barkuma’s Disability Employment Service provides on-site tailored support or discreet support and disability awareness training.
Danielle Broadway, Operations Manager of Open Employment and Transition at Barkuma, highlights that the benefits for employers are numerous.
“We know that employing people with disability makes good sense, particularly in terms of reliability,” she said.
“Employers report higher retention rates, lower absenteeism, increased customer loyalty and staff morale, as well as lower incidences of workplace injury.”