Every year on International Day of People with Disability we celebrate work milestones across our sites with Years of Service awards. In the lead up to IDPWD on December 3, we're shining the spotlight on some of our many dedicated clients who’ve notched up decades at Bedford!
Torrensville team member Melissa joined Bedford (then Phoenix Society) at 21 - 30 years on, she is still loving every minute.
Over the years, Melissa has tried out a range of roles across packaging and in the Torrensville café. Her favourite role? Working in the custom-built clean rooms to pack a variety of food products.
"I like that you can learn more skills in this area, at the moment I do a lot of work with the conveyor belts," she says.
Melissa has also become an expert in food safety, having completed her HACCP training and accreditation while at Bedford.
Melissa says she's come out of her shell at Bedford, and is now "a lot more open and confident".
"I was pretty nervous when I started, but the staff made me feel comfortable," she says
"I love working with the people here. We have fun. I feel happy when I come to Bedford."
Fellow Torrensville team member, Paul, has worked alongside Melissa since her first day, and is celebrating 35 years at Bedford this year.
A natural leader, Paul is a familiar face around Bedford Torrensville and is always lending a helping hand to his colleagues.
Having worked on dozens of contracts over the years, some of Paul's earliest jobs included packaging screws and caps for power points (he can still recall how many in each packet!), water metre cleaning and testing, and working at the Phoenix Society's printing and posting service.
Now one of the most senior and skilled members of the team, Paul has packed medical supplies for the Royal Adelaide Hospital, bottles truffle oil, and fondly remembers packing a large range of spices.
"I used to work with spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and chili...it was a lovely mix of smells but sometimes I would go home yellow because of the turmeric, which was pretty funny!" he says.
A highlight for Paul during his time at Bedford was attending the 2018 Bedford Big Sports BBQ and meeting Adelaide Crows star, Taylor Walker.
When asked what his favourite thing is about working at Bedford, the answer is simple.
"All my friends," he says.
"We catch up outside of work...we always have fun and have a laugh."