An employer’s perspective on disability – Benbro Electronics

I’ve been here 16 years now. Everything you see here is basically modified to my height and my specifics. ♪ Background music playing ♪ I saw an add in the paper from Commonwealth Rehab Services. I thought I’d ring them up and say “Can I help out and what not?” I rang them up, they said “What’s your name?” and then this young, this guy, this Stan the Man, or whatever they call him, and then he had a rapport with Benbro Electronics. He knew Steve and John, and then he saw my qualifications and he said “Hey, we’ll try and get you a work experience with Steve and John at Benbro,” and they said “Yeah, sure, come in.” They said “Six weeks.” I thought I came in for an interview, so I – usually in interview, you dress up in your suit, tie and the whole lot, briefcase, resume. I walked in the door and I looked at everyone. I went “Oh, everyone’s in t-shirts, jeans.” I went “Buggar! I’m overdressed.” Walking in the door, and Steve looked at me, he looked at the resume. He goes “Oh, when can you start?” The others, everything that I was doing was, I’ve done it before, but being disabled, you know, you don’t want to say nothing, and then when in two weeks, Steve came up to me and said “Would you like a full time job?” I’ve known Arthur now for about 15 years. Currently at the moment, we probably have around about 15 people. Probably more than half of them actually have a disability of some sort. My experience with people with disability has been great. I’ve had many, many people come through, all different varieties of disability, some mental, some physically, some health related, but they all want to come to work, you know. They’re never late. They’re always here. They’re hardly ever sick and when they are, they tell you. They’re very motivated to work. Arthur basically takes care of all the things that I can’t. He is doing repairing, he is doing the technician role. He also looks after people who come as well, just like he did, for rehabilitation and organises them and finds different ways for them to actually do work that they said they couldn’t do. I train abled and disabled people here, that come in here. I’m also the 2IC of Production at Benbro, basically yeah. When they first came in, doing simple tasks – making boxes. Initially, they find it quite hard, but in time, it’s second nature and then you start them on a new job and then they go “I can’t do it,” and I go “Hang on, remember when you did the boxes? Hey, you’re just getting focused. Let me know what you can do. I’ll try and adapt the situation at that point, and we can work together,” but if you say you can’t, you can’t, you can’t, you will never progress. And you want to be treated normally and this is the way to do it, to prove yourself and learn new things. Approach to employing new people is basically “Can they do the job?”, “Have they got the skill sets?” “If they can, or even if they can’t, can they do it by doing some other means?” So basically, we’ve had guys here with different problems and they have the actual skills, but they can’t physically do the work, but by doing something else, we can make them do the work. People with disabilities can still be employed. It’s whether or not they can do the work. If they can do the work, then employ them. What’s the problem? There’s no problem. They can do it. Employers should be able to give someone a chance to do and work on their strengths in working. If more companies were like this, it’d be, you know… ♪ Closing Music ♪

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