Recipe for success: JobAccess supports Andrew’s passion for cooking
Image: a man using a sieve in a kitchen while cooking (used for representation purposes only)
* Represents name has been changed for privacy.
For Andrew*, running his catering business is more than cooking. He loves the social connections that come with it.
"It's not just about me cooking for clients. I put on a show, and I've got music playing. Sometimes, cooking demonstrations involve dancing, and it's a party!" he says.
Andrew started his career in computer programming. But his creative flair drew him to cooking. "I've never been one to sit behind a desk, typing away and being in a 9 to 5 routine."
Running the catering business involves travelling to and from the event, planning and preparing, purchasing ingredients, transporting equipment, cooking, serving and packing.
Andrew carries these out independently for smaller events but engages another person when catering for larger crowds of over 40.
Andrew lives with multiple sclerosis (MS), which means he faces challenges in some aspects of his job.
Some of the barriers for Andrew include physical fatigue, impacting his ability to load and unload the catering van safely. He also experiences cognitive fatigue that affects his capacity to remember equipment.
"It was a nightmare to manage work. Carrying the equipment in and out of the car myself was challenging."
Andrew's occupational therapist recommended he contact JobAccess and apply for the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF). The EAF provides financial assistance to purchase work-related modifications and services with the intent to remove barriers in the workplace due to a person’s disability.
Not long after receiving Andrew's application, JobAccess organised a free worksite assessment.
A qualified assessor with specialised knowledge of MS conducted a worksite assessment as part of the process. An assessor visited Andrew at work to identify potential barriers and discussed solutions to help make work more accessible.
With recommendations from the assessor, JobAccess Professional Adviser Chantal Hardey worked alongside Andrew to organise funding for assistive equipment.
The support came in the form of accessible van storage so Andrew could store his equipment safely, allowing easy access to and from events. It also reduces the need to remove and replace equipment, lowering the chances of falling.
All equipment stored in one place removes the need to remember items and alleviates cognitive concerns.
Andrew says that JobAccess has been a breath of fresh air.
"It's like Christmas every day! Waking up and knowing I've got some support that will better my life is mind-blowing. I struggle as it is with normal stuff daily. But what JobAccess has done means I can jump into my van, switch it on, take off, and get to the destination. It's not that hard to set up anymore."
“JobAccess has been my happy support system that deleted the struggle of sorting out my van and turned it into a pleasurable experience. No more mess and things flying in my van. JobAccess has been a life changer,” Andrew concludes.
What support is available?
There is a wide range of support available from JobAccess for people with disability, employers, and service providers.