Like many young people his age, 17-year-old Markus Graham loves his sport. Over the years he’s played both AFL and cricket, and has a real passion for both.
At the age of 12, Markus was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and, in time, had to give up playing sports. His passion and enthusiasm for sport never wavered, and recently Rocky Bay was able to help Markus find an alternative avenue to continue to follow his passion and help him transition from high school to the workplace.
Rocky Bay’s NDIS-funded STEP program aims to assist students living with disability transition from school into the workplace – and ultimately into meaningful employment.
The unique aspect about the program is that it is individualised. Rocky Bay’s dedicated Community Transition team, along with our support workers, spend time getting to know an individual, their abilities, passions and skills, and help them identify their niche in the workplace
“When we first met Markus, he told us of his passion for playing AFL and cricket, which sadly came to an end with his diagnosis of muscular dystrophy,” said Alison Maxwell, Rocky Bay Support Worker.
“We took the time to understand his aspirations and what he wanted from a role, so he could use his abilities and chosen path to meet the needs of a relevant organisation.”
The Rocky Bay team discovered Markus had great office and administration skills and that he hoped to put them to good use in a sports statistics role after completing Year 12 at the end of the year.
“One way we help a customer achieve their goal is by building up knowledge of their chosen career and developing a network of contacts,” added Alison.
The team were able to arrange an interview for Markus with Reader’s Editor of The West Australian, Alison Wakeham. Markus, supported by his Support Worker Callum Hearn, learnt about the different roles within the newspaper and at Channel 7. He was shown through the organisation’s offices and was even taken to a West Coast Eagles training session by sports journalist, Craig O’Donoghue.
A huge Eagles fan, Markus had the opportunity to learn about the role of a sports journalist, the qualities needed to succeed in this career, and excitingly even met several of the players during the training session!
Off the back of this experience, Markus has secured a volunteer role with Swan Districts Football Club, which created a new role suited to Markus’ skills. The club had a need for someone with excellent knowledge of the sport to attend the West Australian Football League Women’s (WAFLW) match days to record player interchanges and keep score of the game. Provided with his own desk, a laptop and training on the software, Markus also writes a blog for the team about their match days.
“He’s absolutely loving it. He was very nervous at the start that he might make a mistake, but it all went really well,” said Alison.
Markus has received very positive feedback from the WAFLW bench staff, league coach and general manager following his first game in the new role.
Markus’s parents, Chris and Marion, are thrilled with the new opportunities that have come Markus’ way and are grateful Rocky Bay has been able to provide Markus with the right assistance to pursue his passion.
Rocky Bay’s STEP program is designed to match an individual’s interests, skills and abilities to a role that will help them secure meaningful employment. Our Community Transition team works with organisations to develop roles perfectly suited to an individual’s abilities which also meet a previously unmet need within the organisation.
To find out more about how Rocky Bay’s STEP program can assist you, call our friendly Customer Engagement team on 6282 1900.