ACH Group is a not-for-profit organization which has supported older South Australians since 1952. The Group offers a wide range of services including retirement and residential accommodation options, domestic, personal and nursing care in the home, respite choices and short-term transition services.
Nestled amid large landscaped gardens ACH Group’s Kapara Residential Living site appears a picturesque place to live or work. Chloe, Joanna, Kimberley, Grace, Stephanie and Susanna are currently employed at the site and form an integral part of the wider Kapara team that support ‘good lives for older people’.
The relationship between our Open Employment arm - Barkuma Employment and ACH Group Kapara began in 2013 when one of our clients expressed interested in working in aged care and in particular for ACH. From the initial meeting, management at Kapara were impressed by the support provided by Barkuma Employment for both the potential employer and employee. What began as a trial two years ago has been a huge success and proven lasting partnership with the organization now employing six Barkuma Employment clients and actively looking at further employment opportunities.
Lyn Bertram – Site Manager at ACH Group Kapara Residential Living sees the employment of staff with disability a good fit with the vision and values of ACH Group, “We believe that intergenerational interactions are part of a good life for our residents, who have really welcomed the new workers. As a not for profit, we have a wider interest in social justice and believe that all people deserve the opportunity to live a good life” says Lyn. The six employees range from 19 – 29 years old and hold various roles across the organization including kitchen hand and aged care assistant. The staff all enjoy working with the residents of Kapara “I really enjoy working here” says Barkuma Employment client Joanna “I like talking to the residents and hearing their stories”.
The relationship works well between Barkuma Employment and ACH Kapara with Lyn adding “There are always challenges and risks associated with finding the perfect fit between staff and residents, whether you are employing people with a disability or not. The staff from Barkuma Employment met with our team prior to the new staff members coming on board, and there has been ongoing support for all workers ever since”.
Since employing staff through Barkuma Employment Lyn has seen the perceptions of other staff members change “The workers are keen, willing to learn and sick leave is kept to a minimum” “The staff have become an essential part of our team. They hold meaningful roles and have been pivotal in supporting good lives for older people, while enabling other staff to do more with our residents”. To anyone looking to consider employing a person with a disability Lyn says “Go for it – it will really make a positive difference in the workplace and the lives of these young people”.