A new pool of talent waiting for employers

Meet Tom, Baker’s Assistant at Banjo’s Bakery Café

Meet Tom, Baker’s Assistant at Banjo’s Bakery Café

Banjo’s Bakery Café have locations all across Australia – but one store in Tasmania is taking great steps when it comes to disability employment.

Tom Brown has worked at Banjo’s in Claremont, Tasmania for three months, after being linked with the café through Interact, a Disability Employment Services (DES) provider. Tom has an intellectual disability.

“I love working at Banjo’s. I think people with disability should be able to work in all sorts of places and try different things,” says Tom.

For James McCulloch, Director of Claremont Banjo’s, Tom has been a great addition to the team.

“I think that people with disability don’t have enough chances. Tom wasn’t happy at his old job, so I wanted to give him a go – he’s a good worker, and everyone here gets along with him really well,” says James.

For Banjo’s, the process for hiring Tom was made simple by working with Interact. For other organisations looking to do the same, there are a number of DES providers available to help.

“It was a really smooth process. They came in and told us they had someone for us, explained everything and made sure we knew what we needed to know. He came in the next week and has been working here since,” says James.

Tom hasn’t needed any adjustments to help him complete his work, but if he did, Banjo’s wouldn’t be in it alone. The Employment Assistance Fund is available for employers, and provides financial assistance to help make adjustments to support an employee with disability.

For his part, Tom has enjoyed experiencing a range of different jobs at the bakery.

“I do all different things – I help clean up, make the pizzas and the cakes that go out the front, and at the moment I’m learning to use the oven,” says Tom.

In just three months, the team at Banjo’s has embraced Tom.

“Everyone loves him. It’s really been no different to hiring anyone else, and he’s certainly settled in very quickly,” says James.

“In fact, I’ve actually been telling other Banjo’s locations about him and encouraging them to do something similar. Tom’s been great, so why wouldn’t I?”

Many employers say they are open to hiring people with disability, but far fewer are taking steps towards actually doing so. To access the broad range of talent that people with disability represent – employers aren’t in it alone.

Organisations like Banjo’s can go through a local DES provider to find a suitable candidate, while larger organisations can work with the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator to find their match. Once an employer has found a match, the Employment Assistance Fund can assist with a free workplace assessment to see what changes, if any, might be needed.

Last updated: