Patrons of the Bellingen Golf Club will be familiar with Jamie, the young Club All Rounder who works with the club crew and keeps the golf carts clean, fuelled and in tip top shape.

An opportunity to volunteer

Living on the spectrum, Jamie was able to access NDIS supports through his Disability Service Provider, which helped him engage in social activities and explore work experience opportunities after he graduated Year 12. This led Jamie to his role at the Golf Club, where he began as a volunteer in late 2020.

Jamie, an avid train enthusiast and metal detectorist, loves all things motorised, so catching the bus to work with the golf carts in the Club’s workshop aligned perfectly with his passions.

“Jamie has always loved trains” says Jamie’s mum Lorraine. “It has been a life-long fascination for him. Our garage is full of model trains and the local newsagent knows to save a copy of the Hornby Train magazine for him each month.”

Building capacity to thrive

Having found his interest, it wasn’t long before Jamie was ready to take the next step. He was linked to his local Disability Employment service and together they worked with Club Manager Mike MacGraw to assist Jamie into supported wages employment. Supported wages is a collaborative agreement between employers and employees with disability to build their capacity to work.

Mike had been involved in the hospitality industry for decades, but this was his first encounter working with a staff member with disability, and he has learned a lot.

“After all the natural disasters and the pandemic, one of the hardest parts of running the Club is finding staff who want to work” says Mike. “We didn’t realise the types of employment support we could access until Jamie and his team approached us. Jamie was keen and really wanted to be a part of the Club, so it was great to have help to support him into work.”

The Club crew and a collaborative team of Disability Employment and NDIS staff devised a plan to implement tailored workplace practices. They created step-by-step routines for Jamie in his roles cleaning and maintaining the golf carts, making deliveries, and working in the club public area.

This established framework and schedule allowed Jamie to gain confidence, build his skills and thrive in his new job.

“Jamie is very detail orientated” Lorraine tells us. “Understanding how he thinks helps. If you want something done, give him the detail and the specifics and he’s away!”

In addition to these supports, Jamies disability support team was able to procure tools to help Jamie in the workplace, including uniforms and workplace equipment – which has made work in the mechanic bay smoother and more efficient. Jamie was also supported to get his RSA so he can perform duties in the bar area of the club. So far, he’s pulled two beers and is considering his options for a third.

After 6 months of on-the-job coaching, Jamie transitioned into open employment, just as the club expanded its fleet of golf carts – keeping Jamie and the crew busy!

“It’s not just the work where we see Jamie developing” says Mike. “We’re seeing a big change as he joins in with the rest of us. He’s a real larrikin, so to see his personality come out and watch him interacting with the team is terrific.”

A hole in one for Jamie

Jamie now works 2 days a week at the Bellingen Golf Club and keeps busy volunteering at the Frank Partridge Museum, enjoying Thursday family dinner, a spot of golf and some solid negotiation with mum to move his model trains into the house.

We asked Jamie what his favourite part of his new job was. His answer: “Lunch.”

Can’t argue with that!

Jamie’s story is a wonderful example of Disability Employment NDIS Services collaborating together to achieve positive outcomes for participants! Ability Options proudly supports employers to build a workforce that reflects the community and create opportunities for people with disability to contribute to workplaces in a positive way.

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