Opportunities open up for Dale

Feb 5, 2021


Twenty-three year-old Dale Cummings was eager to start working and earning a wage to help him build his independence. Whilst trying to find paid employment, Dale was honing his skills by volunteering cleaning cars.

A bright and enthusiastic young man, Dale has been receiving therapy services from Rocky Bay for nearly four years. He lists his hobbies as playing computer games, listening to jazz music, and detailing his own car.

Dale has been supported by Rocky Bay Occupational Therapist, Ally Raphael, for the past few months, and seeing that Dale just needed an opportunity to prove himself, Ally contacted Prendiville Catholic College to see if any suitable paid work experience positions might be available for him.

The College have supported Rocky Bay in the past with the donation of laptops for customers.

“I was concerned that Dale was not being afforded the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to gain employment, particularly in this competitive climate,” Ally said.

Prendiville College’s Business Manager, Terry Raphael, saw a gap that would suit Dale’s experience perfectly – a casual position detailing the College’s buses over the school holidays.

“With Dale’s experience detailing and cleaning cars, this seemed like a great opportunity to build his skills and also earn money for his services,” Ally said.

“We worked closely with Rocky Bay’s Community team and Prendiville College’s Property Officer to coordinate the necessary support to assist Dale on the job, and to select appropriate tasks for him.”

Terry said that the school was happy to support Dale, and had a number of jobs that matched his experience, including the detailing of three college buses.

“Dale had access to a support person, though he seemed to be very independent,” Terry said.

“It was anticipated that Dale would take at least three days to complete the job. Dale grasped what was required very quickly and set about his work. He was quite methodical and paid good attention to detail, cleaning the bus in every corner.

“Both our Property Officer and myself were surprised at how quickly he completed the task, basically finishing three buses in two days.”

Following the completion of Dale’s work experience at Prendiville, Terry was so impressed that he offered Dale ongoing casual work. However, Dale lives in Kalamunda and the drive to Prendiville is considerable.

“When advised by Ally that Dale lived near Helena Valley and that travelling may be problematic, I contacted a colleague, the Business Manager at Helena College, who was more than happy to give Dale an opportunity.”

Helena College’s former Business Manager, Michael Papali, was eager to support Dale in any way possible to help him build on the skills required for work, and went above and beyond to support his transition to employment.

“He took time out of his busy day to meet with Dale’s employment coordinator and consulted with myself, Dale’s Support Coordinator, and Dale himself, to make sure he was well supported in his duties,” Ally said.

“Mr Papali was outstanding with his support, and his philosophy of assisting young people with disabilities into the workforce was a welcomed experience. Dale is now happily employed and thoroughly enjoying the opportunities.”

Now settled at Helena College, Dale works three days a week for five hours each day assisting with the maintenance of grounds, landscaping, and sanitising and disinfecting various areas, armed with the appropriate PPE, to ensure the safety of students, staff and the community.

“I really enjoy working at Helena College,” Dale said.

“The work I do includes cleaning, moving equipment and setting up for events at the school.”

As there are some restrictions on what Dale can lift and carry in terms of weight, his Supervisor oversees and supports Dale during his shifts, ensuring that his allocated tasks don’t put a strain on Dale’s health and wellbeing. He also frequently checks in with Dale to make sure he is enjoying the work he has been allocated.

When asked what one of his favourite parts of his job is, Dale said “seeing the wildlife (bandicoots)” in the area is a daily highlight!

Michael said that Dale had settled comfortably into his role.

“Dale has a very pleasing and polite personality, always willing to undertake the task requested and is punctual,” Michael said.

Terry summed up the experience.

“It would seem everyone was a winner here, some people just need an opportunity.”

Rocky Bay would like to thank Prendiville Catholic College and Helena College for their dedicated support and generosity in assisting Dale to build on his skills and independence with meaningful employment.

If you would like to know more about Rocky Bay’s therapy services, call Customer Engagement on 6282 1900.


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