A new Manjimup café and pizza parlour has employed a number of people with varying barriers including medical conditions, mental health and/or disabilities, giving them a much needed start towards financial independence and boosting their confidence in the workplace.

Chef at Café SIX 258, Dave Evans, said partnering with local disability employment service, Joblife Employment, meant the employees were being provided with the genuine care and support they needed to be able to gain work and stay in the job.

“As a person who has experienced, and continues to experience, health issues, I really wanted to be able to help by giving people a go, especially those that need extra support in the workplace,” he said.

“This might mean taking a little longer to explain how the business operates, spending time with them so they understand all aspects of their job, and encouraging them to ask questions and seek advice.”

The job seekers are filling a range of roles in the restaurant including front of house and in the kitchen. A number of them have been long term unemployed or have a health condition that has been a previous barrier to employment.

“They are a great bunch of people – hard-working, reliable, keen to learn and fun to be around. Patience and trust are key to our working relationship and I am proud to be their mentor and to give them the opportunity they need to grow and shine.”

Manjimup Joblife Employment consultant, Emma Pickering, said Dave’s approach to employing and working with people with disabilities showed how easy it could be.

“In the end Dave has employed the best people for the job. He has a willing and stable workforce who turn up every day and repay his faith in them. Having a disability or health condition doesn’t mean that you can’t work or find valuable training opportunities. We just need more employers like Dave.”

With one in five people in the community identifying as having a disability, employers are being encouraged to take the next step to hiring a person with disability.