But it hasn’t been an easy career path for the 28-year-old who has ADHD and is on the autism spectrum and struggled in mainstream education and employment….
“I always had problems. I knew I was quite clever, but I couldn’t always express myself and exams were difficult. I realised I needed more support, but it wasn’t until I started at Bedford that I thought oh, this is really good,” Russell said.
As a supported employee, Russell takes pride in operating the beam saw and cutting and creating the components of a two-door cupboard.
“I cut the giant sheets of particle board and then the pieces are sent down the conveyer line to the edging machines where the pieces get their edges. Then it goes through machinery that puts in boring holes for the screws and finally it gets packed, shrink wrapped and ready for Bunnings to pick up and take to their stores,” he said.
It’s a process that gives Russell a sense of achievement and self-worth.
“I feel like I’m doing something that actually helps customers and other people – it makes their life easier and they get to have a nice-looking piece of functional furniture.”