UNDERSTANDING OUR $50M MASTERPLAN
We’re very proud of our history at Bedford, but it’s time for a makeover – big time!
To accomplish this, our five-year investment will offer people with disability the chance to pursue new pathways and training programs to reach their longer-term employment goals, at both current and new sites, in open employment and earn award wages. Effectively, this will be the biggest investment in Bedford’s history.
So how will a future Bedford look and operate?
In a first for disability employment in Australia, Bedford will establish its own open employment market called Bedford Social Enterprises. Not just a pathway into another organisation, but Bedford’s own businesses to create our own Made By Bedford products or partner with a range of companies to build, make, produce and create everything from innovative furniture to gourmet food in contract kitchens and fill gaps across various retail, production and processing markets - from paddock to plate. Many of our existing businesses will evolve from supported employment models to true Social Enterprises with open employment hubs.
“This is really all about creating new choices and skills growth for clients of all ability and advancing employment offerings,” Myron Mann, Bedford CEO said. Bedford Social Enterprises will consist of multiple businesses operating in fully competitive markets. These social enterprises will operate within a charter and social impact will be embedded within the business. Each enterprise will attract investment from Bedford’s social impact fund.
What does it mean for our most valued assets – our clients?
For our existing clients, that means the chance to transition from supported model to open employment and earn award wages and pursue new career opportunities and skills
Panorama employee Andrew Waller is excited about the prospect of increasing his work and life skills.
“I’ve worked in the packaging team, and I joined a special cleaning unit during COVID.”
“You could say, I’m a bit of an all-rounder and I’m always looking to increase my skills – maybe even become a barista in a cafe one day,” Andrew said.
How would Bedford help our community make these changes if they choose to?
Supporting Andrew in this transition and understanding the new service offerings takes careful planning, so Bedford will establish an Advisory Service – which includes access to job and life coaches, vocational training, retirement planning and many new supports not currently offered. Our new Advisory Services will also work with South Australian employers to provide support in how to employ people with disability in the open market. For SA employers who choose to employ people with disability Bedford will have job coaches to assist.
Myron Mann says Bedford’s clients, supported employees and staff will have the opportunity to choose their preferred pathway.
“Everyone will have a choice. Those who prefer supported models of employment will still have access to trained supervision, disability support and flexibility in their work and social arrangements to suit their needs. Individual choice and control remain at the centre of their future.”
What other changes will Bedford make to meet the needs of our community and secure our future?
Also, in our five-year masterplan, will be the establishment of several new purpose-built facilities across Adelaide and regional SA as well as upgrades to existing sites. The first of our new sites will open in Brooklyn Park in early 2023.
The $50 million investment includes:
- Creating an advanced manufacturing hub in Adelaide’s North at one of SA’s largest greenfield site – plus other new, fit-for-purpose sites in Adelaide’s South and Hills
- Expanding into the western suburbs with a new commercial site specialising in contract kitchens and a new Day Options site for social and skills development
- Renovating and redeveloping existing sites such as Balyana and our head office at Panorama
- Selling surplus land and existing commercial sites that are no longer fit-for-purpose allowing Bedford to reinvest from the sales into new modern facilities
- Exiting facilities that are no longer fit-for-purpose.
“We know the disability sector is changing and with it, more contemporary and inclusive forms of employment will be offered.
“We have started to share our plans with both state and federal governments, our employees, clients, families and the wider Bedford community and the feedback to date has been fantastic,” Mr Mann said.
“Yes, we will have new sites and create new jobs, but this investment is so much more. This is about offering unprecedented opportunity and support for people with disability to live the life they choose.”
N.B. - the above video was originally published in August 2022 and was updated to maintain accuracy in August 2023.