If you want to find a job, a new place to live or develop your skills, Endeavour Foundation has the programs that will put you in the driver’s seat.
Brent White’s job with Endeavour Foundation is more than just a job to him.
It’s also his social network and his support group.
Endeavour Foundation employs more than 2000 people with intellectual disability in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, partnering with a range of businesses – from major international companies to small local start-ups.
Services offered range from general food packing and confidential document destruction to more unique offerings such as making beef jerky and manufacturing wooden pegs for use in mining and real estate industries.
“I love working in document destruction, especially weighing [document] bins when they come in and get loaded from the truck,” Brent White said.
The benefits of having a job are abundantly clear, particularly for people with intellectual disability who often face exclusion or discriminatory attitudes in mainstream workplaces.
Employment not only provides an income but it also has important benefits to mental and physical health, emotional wellbeing, social inclusion and feelings of self-worth.
“It’s very good to have staff who understand what we are going through,” said Mr White.
“My favourite part about working for Endeavour Foundation is having good quality friends around me!”
Endeavour Foundation’s new Virtual Reality (VR) technology is more than just a chance to try something fun and interesting.
The virtual reality learning programs are developing real-world skills.
Chris Beaumont is part of the team that has travelled all over the Sunshine State rolling out a suite of new educational programs and technology at Endeavour Foundation’s Learning and Lifestyle hubs.
“We know that learning doesn’t stop when you finish school,” Mr Beaumont said.
“That’s why we want to make sure that people with intellectual disability have the option to keep learning new life and job skills throughout their lives.
“We’ve developed learning programs geared towards the needs of school leavers on topics such as literacy and numeracy, life skills, community engagement; computers; health and recreation.”
Alongside those courses sits world-leading VR tech, bringing education, gaming and the disability sectors together with immersive learning experiences.
“Imagine putting on a headset, picking up the controls and learning to cross the street, catch a train, use an ATM, serve customers in a busy café or even drive a car,” Mr Beaumont said.
“We have interactive simulations for all of these things and more, giving you choice and control over the skills you develop.
“We’re literally putting you in the driving seat.”
“As a father of a disabled child, you know that eventually I’m going to be too old or mum’s going to be too old to do this.”
“It has to happen.”
Like any parent, Warren Huby had always known that one day his daughter Taryn would have to live independently.
It wasn’t a question of “if” the non-verbal 30-year-old would fly the nest. It was a question of “when”; of finding the right time and the right place.
“She had been ready for years,” said Mr Huby, “We knew that she had the skills.”
Taryn now lives in a shared house with 24/7 support from Endeavour Foundation, which provides Supported Independent Living (SIL) and other in-home supports under the NDIS.
Mr Huby said parents shouldn’t feel guilty about giving their children an opportunity to be themselves and flying the nest was a normal, healthy transition.
“Your child deserves independence,” he said, “They deserve their own life and their own home.
“If you have the opportunity and the place is right, absolutely do it. It changes their life and your life for the better.
“Let ’em flap their wings and go somewhere. You need to have a life as well.”
Visit the Endeavour Foundation booth at the Melbourne Disability Expo, 22 and 23 November, Melbourne Exhibition Centre, to learn more about how we can help you with work, home and community. You can even try our amazing virtual reality technology. Register to attend. Free entry.