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This Thursday, 2nd April, is World Autism Awareness Day. It is a time to celebrate diversity, unique talents and advocate for people with disability.

At Afford, every individual is supported under the NDIS to achieve their goals for work, home, and life. Many people within the Afford community, like SLES trainee, Jourdarn, are ready, willing and driven to unlock their full potential and let their abilities soar!

Jourdarn is a trainee in Afford’s School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) in Penrith. He is charismatic, articulate and instantly develops a friendly rapport with everyone that he meets.

He joined the two-year SLES program earlier this year and has quickly become a leader among his peers. He shows a lot of determination and a real thirst for work.

Before the SLES program, and during year 12 at school, Jourdarn studied hard to complete his Certificate II in Business Studies. During his course, he developed his knowledge of working in a business setting. He learned how to identify priorities and work with different technology and programs to complete tasks.

After finishing his studies, he was very keen to find work, particularly in the hospitality industry. Being independent is important to Jourdarn. While he loves living with his Aunt and Uncle, his aim is to secure employment to earn money to pay his own bills, go out with friends, or buy the things he likes, when he wants.

Jourdarn has shown time and time again that he is a go-getter. After realising his work interests were in the hospitality industry, he secured some work experience at a local café. He learned a lot about the daily duties of a café, but also how to deal with customers.

With some experience under his belt, Jourdarn turned to Afford’s SLES program for some added support to achieve his long-term employment goal.

SLES trainers have a range of networks that they can access to seek out employment opportunities for trainees. Working on behalf of Jourdarn, SLES trainer, Sharon, reached out to her networks to find a work experience opportunity that would suit Jourdarn’s interests.

Sharon considered Joudarn’s previous work experience, as well as finding a job that wasn’t too far from where he lives.

Success! With such a great work ethic and a drive to enhance his skills, it wasn’t long before Sharon secured Jourdarn a work trial at Winmalee Tavern. After speaking with Paul, the Manager, Sharon had even more good news for Jourdarn. If he could adjust to the faced paced kitchen at Winmalee Tavern during his work trial, he could score regular work!

On-Site Work Support
Jourdarn has a great approach to work. He has grown confident in his abilities and is willing to give anything a go. For added support, Sharon went along with him to his first work trial. But she soon realised that he was in his element.

Jourdarn and Sharon arrived at Winmalee Tavern at 6pm for his three and a half-hour shift. He walked in confidently and introduced himself to Paul, as well as the head chef, Tony, and the rest of the kitchen staff.

Grow Confidence in your Abilities
After getting the rundown on the evening’s tasks, Jourdarn didn’t waste a moment and got straight into work.

Throughout the evening, staff and customers alike were giving positive feedback about Jourdarn’s work. Everyone could tell that he was thoroughly enjoying the entire experience and giving it his all.

By the end of the evening, Jourdarn was offered employment, which made him so happy.

At the end of his shift, he couldn’t stop smiling. He said: “I can’t believe I got a job…. Finally, I’ll be earning money!”

Jourdarn has secured two shifts a week and continues to impress the staff with his speed and efficiency. He has also been guaranteed his job once Winmalee Tavern reopens.

On World Autism Awareness Day, we are pleased to recognise and celebrate the many achievements of individuals living with Autism in the Afford community who, just like Jourdarn, have found their place in the world where they can live life on their terms.

Find out more about Afford’s SLES program and opportunities to achieve your work goals with support under the  NDIS.