When Joshua Eagar’s father Scott asked the Facebook community for help in finding his son a job, he did not expect an outpouring of good will.
Mr Eagar posted on Facebook group Everything Sutherland Shire, in the hope someone would give Josh, who has high-functioning Aspergers, a chance.
“He’s hard-working, reliable and honest, but struggling to find work,” he said.
“He recently turned 21, got his licence and everything is falling into place. But kids like Josh are getting left behind.”
More than 4500 people viewed his post.
A member of the group tagged Rocky Pitarelli, the owner of Gymea’s Caruso’s and La Zona’s Bar and Grill, into the conversation.
Mr Pitarelli immediately offered Josh a job opportunity.
“When I saw the post, I could feel Scott’s frustration,” he said.
“I constantly hear about young peope having the door shut on them because of their disability, but these guys want to work.
“We are a small business with a big heart. I’ve got a monster opening up the road that will affect us, but we just want to do the right thing and help where we can. So I said, let’s give this kid a go.”
Josh works the dinner shift on Fridays and Saturdays nights.
“We started him off at La Zona’s on the floor, and we’re integrating him into Caruso’s,” Mr Pitarelli said.
“It’s all about teaching routine and positive reinforcement. Josh has been doing very well – he’s pleasant, and a real character to work with.
“The credit goes to my senior staff members who have taken the time and care that Josh needs to be shown and encouraged him.
“I’m sure he will be a part of the Caruso's family for a long time.”
The business is also donating 20 per cent of sales to Autism Spectrum Australia.
Josh, who studies retail pastry and baking at Ultimo TAFE, says this is his favourite job so far.
“I’ve worked in lots of industries – landscaping, panel beating, horticulture, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” he said.
“The trial shift was wonderful and the staff are phenomenal. I’ve never felt more comfortable.
“I’m usually a back-of-house boy, a dishie or cook, but being front of house is great. The best thing is hearing customers say they’ve had a good night.”
A recent Australian survey revealed that young people aged between 15-24 who undertake work in some capacity, were happier overall and experienced higher levels of resilience and optimism.
Released this month, the Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census, supported by the Business Chamber Movement, was commissioned by Apprenticeship Support Australia in 2017 in response to the nation’s suffering youth unemployment rates, which have been hovering at about 12 percent since 2014.
Before he landed the job, Josh said he had a difficult time finding work.
“I’ve been to over 25 interviews and a lot of them have been rejections,” he said.
“You get used to it but it’s hard to take.
“I’m registered with NOVA and they’ve been really helpful. But lots of businesses are scared because they think if they give you a shot their reputation is on the line.
“But we can work to the best of our ability. All you have to do is give us a chance.”