Hard work and dedication: all in a day’s work for Garth

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Some people are lucky enough to love their job.

They turn up every day, without fail, and enthusiastically undertake any task required from them. They are loyal and dedicated to their workplace, and they work hard.

For 35 years, Garth Hutchinson has been a model employee for Koora Industries, a supported workshop in Muswellbrook run by Challenge Disability Services.

A day in the life of Garth

Every Tuesday and Friday Garth catches a bus to Koora, where he has worked as a Timber Assistant since leaving school in the early ‘80s.

“When I get to work I'll see what stakes have to be sharpened and painted. I then sharpen the points of the stakes and then paint them. Sometimes I make pallets; we do lots of different things,” Garth said.

According to Kim Beverstock, Business Coordinator at Koora Industries, Garth has been a supported employee through many staff and workshop changes.

“Garth has worked in all aspects of our workshop and is one of the most loyal and respected employees,” she said. “He has a beautiful personality and his cheeky sense of humour brings lots of laughter into the workshop.”

Recently, Garth made waves on the workshop floor, when he managed to point 1000 stakes in less than six hours.

“We would be very happy for a timber assistant to point between 250 and 500 stakes in that time, so it was a remarkable achievement that I am unsure could be replicated by anyone else,” Kim said.

“Everyone on the workshop floor noticed his achievement and were clapping and congratulating him on his efforts. But Garth quickly diverted attention away from himself. He doesn’t do it for attention or to be the best; he did it because he works hard and is dedicated to his job. That is just the kind of person Garth is.”

Supports to find and keep employment

Koora Industries supplies and manufactures timber products, as well providing lawn maintenance, assembling and packing services. As an NDIS Provider, Koora also offers supported employment opportunities, including on and off-the-job training.

The NDIS can fund supports to assist with employment opportunities for people living with a disability, like those provided at Koora Industries, where these supports are not the responsibility of an employer or employment service.

These supports can assist with skills development and training, as well as assistance to find and maintain a job. Funding can be allocated to social skills and job-readiness training, as well as providing support for travelling to and from work; specialised assistive technology; and, personal care if required.

Garth said that he enjoyed the people he met while working at Koora Industries, along with spending time with the friends he has made there.

“I think others should go to Koora because you learn good skills and meet people,” he said.

Outside of his time at Koora Industries, Garth pursues his interests and lives a life of his choosing.

“I don’t need much support from Challenge other than attending Koora; I get around on my own well,” Garth said. “I enjoy watching TV, jigsaw puzzles and mowing the lawn."

A job well done

Garth is understandably proud of his work ethic, but certainly doesn’t let his seniority amongst Koora’s supported employees go to his head.

“I’ve been at Koora a long time, I make sure the others don’t be lazy, but I don’t boss them around because I might not have a job anymore if I do that,” Garth said.

However, given the value staff at Koora place on Garth’s work ethics and dedication to his job, it is unlikely that would happen.

“If only we had another 10 Garths to work with,” Kim said. “Garth is a remarkable employee with an amazing work ethic. We are very proud of his achievements. Challenge Disability Services and Koora Industries are blessed to have him on our team.”

For more information on Koora Industries or how you NDIS budget can be used to help with supported employment, please contact Challenge Disability Services by emailing disabilityservices@challengecommunity.org.au.

If you would like to use the services of Koora Industries, please call 02 6543 2222 or email koora@challengecommunity.org.au for an obligation-free quote.

CTA NDIS school leavers 8

Author: Challenge Community Services

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About Challenge Community Services

60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disabilities. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2 500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 600 staff, 85 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.

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