Elle stands in front of doorway wearing black Ocean Grove Bowling Club uniform

Paid open employment the next win for go-getter Elle

Elle and her family say they ‘jumped for joy’ when she got a job in open employment with the Ocean Grove Bowling Club.

Earlier this year, Elle transitioned from Supported Employment with genU to a new job with the Ocean Grove Bowling Club for two days a week, working at reception and behind the bar.

Getting the role was a cause for celebration for Elle, who has experienced significant barriers to employment.

The bubbly Ocean Grove resident is enjoying learning new things and the variety in her new job.

“They do different stuff, I hate being stuck in one spot and I get irritable legs,” said Elle.

“At first I was nervous, I didn’t want to do the phone calls. But now I’m taking bookings and putting them on the system.”

“The Ocean Grove Bowling Club are brilliant,” said Elle’s mum Ruth. “Elle started working in reception on the admin side of things. Now they are teaching her how to work behind the bar, serving soft drinks, and working the till. They are helping her to expand her skills.”

Elle’s pathway to open employment

When Elle was finishing up at high school, her mum Ruth was becoming increasingly frustrated after countless attempts to help her to find work.

“I was trying for years,” Ruth said. “As soon as they knew she had a disability, employers were not interested.”

After Ruth made a spontaneous visit to genU’s Highton office one day, Elle and her family connected with genU’s Employment Pathways team. Through a discovery process, Elle’s skills, abilities, and interests were explored to create a tailored employment plan.

It was identified Elle would be able to best increase her employment skills in a supported employment environment, which provides additional support and flexibility for people with disability. Elle started working as a Supported Employee for genU Business Enterprises at the Douro Street location in packaging and was trained in other areas to build workplace skills and confidence.

At the same time, Elle continued to build her independence through travel training and work experience. Once Elle was confident enough to explore paid open employment options, the genU team suggested Elle could be a perfect fit for the Ocean Grove Bowling Club who were looking for staff.

In the new role Elle continues to receive support onsite once a week from the genU team, who also offer staff at the Bowling Club ongoing education support and guidance.

A sense of belonging

Paid employment at the Bowling Club is part of a busy schedule for Elle, who has commitments six days a week, and has socialising with friends and her boyfriend to fit in as well. ­

“My week is hectic,” she said. Elle does volunteer work at the Ocean Grove Salvos Store, as well as assisting with Outreach work. She also needs to juggle multiple specialist and allied health appointments every week to manage and maintain her health.

According to Ruth, Elle’s self-esteem has improved due to her new public facing role at the Club.

“She is really enjoying working at reception and it makes her feel like she is important and part of a team and community,” she said.

“That has always been something she has struggled with. Having that sense of belonging and people coming in and saying hello – she is loving that.”

Learn more about the ways our Employment Pathways team support young people with disability to break through barriers to employment, and genU Supported Employment