Katherine’s new equal opportunity cafe welcomed its first supported trainee to his introductory shift yesterday.
Harmond Yates, a senior at Kintore Street School, will be the new, friendly face at Equalitea every afternoon after school.
With one-on-one support from employment engagement assistant Bernie Fernandez, Mr Yates will be learning the hospitality ropes from the ground up.
“We will be doing small repetitive tasks so as not to overload Harmond in these first few weeks,” Ms Fernandez said.
NT Friendship and Support executive officer Stephanie Ransome said one of Mr Yates’ goals was to secure a employment when he leaves school.
“Harmond sees his big brother go to work and he wants to follow in his footsteps,” Mrs Ransome said.
“It is Harmond’s right as an Australian to have access to employment,” she said.
Equalitea is Katherine’s newest cafe with a positive twist – the venue, an initiative of NT Friendship and Support, provides hands on training for people with disabilities to become skilled in hospitality.
Excitement was high yesterday as staff waited in anticipation for the arrival of their first supported employee to arrive.
As he will do every afternoon after school, Mr Yates jumped in a taxi and arrived just in time for his shift.
It was all go from there.
He received his new uniform with a mix of excitement and nerves, was taken on a tour of his new work environment and then sat down with his support worker to go over a health and safety orientation.
“Each individual who comes to work at Equalitea will be provided with a tailor made plan so they get the best out of the employment opportunity,” Mrs Ransome said.
“For Harmond, he is coming after school so we will be focusing on cafe closure at the beginning.
“He will be learning about the standard operating procedures, which have been broken down even further so he can really understand each task.
“It really comes down to what he wants to learn, what he can do and how comfortable he feels doing it,” she said.
Mr Yates said he was excited about his first shift at Equalitea as well as the opportunity to learn new skills.
And while starting a new job is nerve racking for most, Mr Yates is one step ahead of the game, bolstered by the fact that he has some barista skills already under his belt.
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