Right man for the job thrills boss

THE Keno pencils have been extra sharp and the ice containers particularly well stocked since Tom Maclachlan, of Jannali, stepped through the doors at Bexley RSL four years ago.

Star worker: Tom Maclachlan, of Jannali, celebrates four years at Bexley RSL this year after the club created a position for an intellectually disabled employee. He is pictured with Bexley RSL manager Anton Dworzak. Picture: Jane Dyson

Star worker: Tom Maclachlan, of Jannali, celebrates four years at Bexley RSL this year after the club created a position for an intellectually disabled employee. He is pictured with Bexley RSL manager Anton Dworzak. Picture: Jane Dyson

Mr Maclachlan, 27, has Down syndrome and was placed in a specially created job at the RSL which has seen his confidence soar, and given his co-workers the opportunity to make a new friend.

The extra skills Mr Maclachlan has gained from working during the past four years, have prompted him to spread his wings even further and find a place of his own.

Sam Cheadle from Jobsupport, a company that specialises in finding employment for people with a moderate intellectual disability, helped Mr Maclachlan find the job.

He said the change in his client over the past four years had been remarkable.

"Thomas has recently started living independently in Jannali which is extraordinary given his disability. The majority of our clients don't reach this level of independence but I believe in this case it is largely due to his job at Bexley RSL and the people who work there," Mr Cheadle said.

Bexley RSL manager Anton Dworzak said the RSL created a job for someone with an intellectual disability as a way of participating fully in the community.

"We treat Tom like every other employee," Mr Dworzak said. "Everybody loves working with him."

He said the main challenge at the outset was finding the right sort of tasks for Mr Maclachlan.

"It is those attention to details type jobs that Tom is perfect at," Mr Dworzak said.

Jobsupport contacts companies from many different industries looking for the best jobs for their clients. Mr Cheadle said mail sorting, manufacturing jobs and supermarket work had some good opportunities for workers with an intellectual disability.

"Employers can think it might be hard to create that sort of job.

" But it is about embracing the challenge and the journey it takes you on," he said.

As for Bexley RSL, their biggest problem is Mr Maclachlan's rostered days off.

"We certainly notice and miss him when he's not here," Mr Dworzak said.

Details:

jobsupport.org.au

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