Bedford’s Orange Brick Road program continues to pave the way for people with disability to kick-start their dream careers. Since launching mid-2016, the paid internship program has seen over 90 graduates enter meaningful work across our packaging, cleaning, hospitality and furniture divisions.
Of the more than 90 graduates, over 40 have come through our Elizabeth site, where interns can try their hand in a range of jobs across packaging, wine labeling, laundry and hospitality.Juanita joined the Orange Brick Road in December last year and now works at Elizabeth three days a week. Starting in the laundry area, then moving to general packaging and wine labeling, Juanita enjoyed testing out different types of work.
"I liked that I could try so many different jobs because I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I started the internship," she says. "I liked that I started with a group of people, so I wasn't the only new one."
The 26-year-old moved to Adelaide's northern suburbs from Mount Barker, where she worked in her grandma's deli. So when jobs opened up in the new cafe at Elizabeth, Juanita jumped at the chance.
"I was interested in working there because of my experience in the deli, so I was familiar with the environment. I didn't have to learn too many new things and it felt comfortable," she says. "I help prepare the food, clean, serve and eventually I'll learn how to use the till and other appliances like the oven and fryer."
"It's good working at Elizabeth because it's close to me and the friends I've made here live near me, so it's easy to catch up outside of work and you see them out and about."
Juanita also helps out in other departments when extra hands are needed, and says the internship sparked her interest in jobs she wouldn't have previously tried.
"I like that variety," she says. "Because if I was to do the same thing everyday I'd get bored. I like to keep busy."
"Through the internship, you work out what you're really good at. I never thought I'd like labeling but through the internship, I realised I actually liked it. I wouldn't have known that if I wasn't given the chance to have a go at it."
For Juanita, working at Bedford is more than just a job.
"I like working at Bedford because I feel comfortable here. I have autism and at Bedford, I don't have to worry because if I need to take a moment to shake my hands or something like that, no one looks at you funny or judges you," she says. "I've definitely gained more confidence."