Stories of Inspiration
Who is Dale?
Dale, like most 17 year old boys, has a very busy schedule. He enjoys spending his weekends rock-climbing, bike riding, and going to work. To get to and from school, Dale catches the train independently and is currently participating in work experience at Big W. Dale also enjoys helping his father, Mark, at work in his landscaping business.
Dale’s parents, Anita and Mark, attended a Pave the Way (http://www.pavetheway.org.au/) event when Dale was in his early teens. Through this event, Anita and Mark report that they were encouraged to “look at all aspects of life” when planning for Dale’s future.
When Dale was 15, his family and friends, who make up his ‘Circle of Support’, came together for a planning session. During this session, Dale’s circle identified that, when other people reach Dale’s age, they typically get a part-time job. A number of options were identified that Dale wanted to consider.
Following the planning session, Anita, Mark, and Natalie (a member of Dale’s circle) approached a number of fast-food outlets in Dale’s residential area. Anita and Mark report that they were initially told by all that there wasn’t a position available but there could be in the future. However, they state that persistence, choosing the right (positive) information with which to introduce the request (introducing Dale through his skills and strengths), and offering to provide a support worker for Dale’s orientations eventually resulted in the local KFC outlet offering Dale a job.
The work begins
Dale started at KFC with two 3 hour shifts per week (Saturday and Sunday) and attended his first shift with his support worker. However, after the second shift, KFC management suggested that Dale do his shifts independently as the support provided by the support worker wasn’t adding any value.
Dale originally undertook tasks, such as cleaning and stacking the fridges; however, Anita and Mark report that he eventually grew bored with this and wanted to try some cooking. There was a comprehensive training system in place, however, Dale wasn’t progressing with the training. So a support worker was offered and again employed to support Dale to learn some tasks for cooking at KFC, and now Dale independently undertakes a variety of tasks, including cooking and serving at the drive-thru window. Dale now works one 6 hour shift per week as he needed to make time to fit in his rock-climbing!
Anita and Mark believe that being really clear about their goals, being persistent, and believing in their son has resulted in him being the successful student, worker, and young man that he is today.
Dale will be finishing school at the end of next year, and, so, he and his family have started to make plans for Dale’s future beyond school. Anita and Mark report that it would be easy for Dale to just continue working at KFC; however, they want him to have opportunities to grow and develop just as other young people do after school. With this in mind, the family have started exploring other options for Dale’s future employment based on his interests, including the possibility of starting his own mowing business. Exciting times ahead!