In September of 2008, Salter Australia Holdings (SAH Group), a well known identity in the weighing industry contacted DWA for assistance. One of the companies within SAH Group, Accuweigh, had previously employed a person with a disability in their Queensland branch in 2004 through DWA. This employee's duties included: sweeping the warehouse, empting office bins, cleaning the lunch room, cleaning company vehicles and re-stocking parts of shelving. Accuweigh then decided to employ a person with a disability to fulfill similar duties in each state branch due to the success of this position.
While being a young and dynamic company, through its workforce, Accuweigh totals over 800 years experience in the weighing, packaging and inspection industry. Accuweigh provides a full and complete range of products and services in the weighing, filling, packaging and inspection industries, complete with after-sales service, backup and support.
The business in committed to putting back into the community they serve and donate part of their quarterly profits to local charities.
DWA worked in collaboration with SAH Group in Western Australia to devise a national agreement to employ people with disabilities and soon put the agreement into effect. After discussions with Accuweigh to work out the position specifics, the position was broadcast to Disability Employment Services in each state.
Suitable applicants were pre-screened by DWA and put forward for interviews. One person in each state successfully gained employment within Accuweigh. The carved position differs from state to state but was specifically designed for a person with a disability to assist the warehouse staff with cleaning duties, packing and unpacking weights, painting weights, emptying bins and other duties as required.
By creating this role in each state branch, Accuweigh has successfully relieved these general duties from their qualified staff, releasing them to concentrate on their specialties. This has greatly benefited Accuweigh and one or two branches are looking at possibly employing a second person with a disability for another tailored position.
Following are the individual stories for each of the people employed in each state:
Stephen Blight is excelling in his role as a Yard Hand/Cleaner at the Port Adelaide branch. He thoroughly enjoys his job and has found the process through DWA to be easy and straightforward. He is happy DWA determined him a suitable applicant for the job and linked him with Accuweigh. There has been no modifications required for Stephen to work, he is happy with the support he receives from his employer and Disability Employment Service provider.
Stephen is employed on a Supported Wage Scheme SWS (a productivity based wage subsidy) due to his disability and says, “Supported Wage gave me an opportunity to commence work and I look forward to the challenge of completing my duties faster so I can earn a higher wage.”
The job has made Stephen feel included socially and he enjoys the staff BBQ's sometimes held on Fridays and was even given a ticket to the Clipsal 500 to go with his boss.
Ian Cunningham, CFO of Accuweigh nationally and Stephen's previous boss has said, “Stephen increases workplace morale. Other employees feel good to have him around.”
Tom Armour, Stephen's boss is happy with this ‘carved' role and said,
“The benefit of creating the Yard Hand role for Stephen was to support his Administration staff and Apprentices which helps them focus on their roles. With Stephen designated to his cleaning and yard hand duties, it ensures those jobs are done consistently and at the required level.”
Tom encourages other businesses to look at ways they can job carve duties from one or more existing positions to create new roles for people with disabilities. Accuweigh has adopted the job carving philosophy nationally.
Tibor Siposs was successfully employed on a SWS for the position within the Springvale branch. Tibor has many years experience as a jeweller but when his physical disabilities caused his manual dexterity to deteriorate, he had to change careers to factory work. His factory work experience meant he had the skills needed to fulfil the needs of the role and he has the right attitude to his work.
The scales are imported to Accuweigh who ensures they are weighing properly. Tibor's role at Accuweigh involves calibrating and checking the new scales for quality assurance. Tibor enjoys his job at Accuweigh and says the people he works with are friendly and supportive.
Tibor has not required any modifications to the workplace due to his disability but is thankful for the support provided by all at the branch. His colleagues and employer assist him in his work to ensure he knows what he is doing. There is always someone on call to help out.
Andrew Snaidero, Tibor's boss has had no issues with Tibor and is happy working with DWA. When asked about Accuweigh's relationship with DWA, he said,
“Working with DWA is an advantage as they suit people to what we require. It's a win-win situation and improves the social skills of people with disabilities. It's also good for workplace morale.”
Tibor is improving in his work every week and Accuweigh are very pleased with this job match.
New South Wales
Frank Kramaric began employment with Accuweigh in February 2009 after being out of work for 2 years. Having previously worked in painting and decorating and been a factory hand, he was a good match to the position being offered at Accuweigh. Frank disclosed a learning disability and has limited literacy skills but it was recommended that he be physically shown how to do tasks rather than be given a textbook.
Franks duties include sweeping the warehouse, emptying office bins, cleaning the lunchroom, cleaning company vehicles and re-stocking parts in shelving. Just the same as any worker, Frank understands his role with guidance and initial training and support. This support is the only adjustments provided for Frank to succeed and thus far has proved to be a great success. Frank has said, “The staff and the boss are very friendly and they help me a lot. I'm very happy to be working at the job.”
Frank's employment consultant at Sydney Counselling Centre was very happy with the job match saying, “Frank was very excited and enthusiastic about beginning his work as a Warehouse Assistant with Accuweigh. Tim (Frank's employer at Accuweigh) has been very welcoming of Frank, and has demonstrated both an acceptance and understanding of both Frank's strengths and weaknesses. Together with the assistance of Disability Works Australia, we have been able to form a supportive network to aid Frank in the employment process.”
As an employer, Accuweigh is leading the way by employing people with disabilities to fill a carved role in each state. Tim (Frank's employer) is very happy to be working with DWA. He said, “We are very pleased to be associated with this program and believe the benefits to be both wide ranging and long term for all parties. This represents an opportunity for Accuweigh to give something back to the community whilst at the same time, offering opportunity to young Australians. It is refreshing to deal with an organisation such as DWA when they have the best interest of client and company at heart. Frank brings with him a type of infectious enthusiasm that cannot be purchased or taught which will no doubt transfer to fellow staff.”
John Smith was unemployed for over 12 months before the opportunity came up with Accuweigh. He was successful for the position due to his previous experience in metal fabrication and fibre glassing proving a bonus as his role with Accuweigh entails drilling and grinding.
John has Aspergers Syndrome and did not require any modifications to enable him to complete his job duties. He was employed on a SWS and has the support he needs from his Disability Employment Network Provider, EPIC Employment and of course his employer, Accuweigh. John's role initially was general cleanup and has now progressed to include packaging and testing of scales, small and large and loading and dispatching of goods. Accuweigh is now looking to extend John's hours and possibly hire another person through Disability Works Australia.
John is enjoying his new role and has made some good mates. He said, “I am more confident and motivated now I am working with Accuweigh. I especially like the additional money which comes in handy because I own a 20 year old Ford XS Falcon.”
Jeremy Hembrough, Accuweigh Qld State Manager is very pleased with John and said, “In John's six weeks with Accuweigh he is conscientious and is always looking for things to do even when times are quiet. His enthusiastic attitude is very infectious on other staff.”
Ken Buckley was employed in the Willeton branch in Western Australia . Ken was working in the Good Samaritan Industries (GSI) factory at Canning Vale and registered with Options Employment in an effort to gain stable employment. Ken's Employment Coordinator thought this position at Accuweigh would be a good job match for Ken's skills. Ken excelled at his work trial and was soon offered a casual position (2 days per week) on SWS.
Ken experienced some anxiety about catching the bus and opted to cycle the 11km's to work. This takes Ken about an hour. To make this journey a little easier, Options Employment is organising for Ken's bike to be fitted with an electric motor to make this trip a little less physically demanding and a lot quicker.
Ken's boss, Rob Antonelli, has said that Ken fits well into Accuweigh and regularly completes his set duties for the day early. Rob says,
“Though Ken was quiet at the start, he is a lot more confident now and interacts well with his co-workers to find more work to do”.
As a result of this, Ken's duties have been expanded to assist with deliveries and to check orders when they arrive at the Warehouse.
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