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Endeavour Foundation Industries Castle Hill will open its doors to the public on Monday 18 October, to showcase the life-changing services it offers to people with a disability.
Parents of people with a disability, in particular, are invited to come and discover the massive difference it can make to their sons’ and daughters’ lives.
"The open day is an opportunity for people to come and see what Endeavour Foundation is all about, see the amazing work supported employees do and the incredible benefits supported employment provides people with a disability," said Endeavour Foundation Industries Castle Hill manager Garry Spokes.
The open day will include tours of the site to see supported employees in action, information stands, sample tastings of Kingaroy Kitchen Fine Foods which are proudly made by people with a disability at Endeavour Foundation Industries in Kingaroy Queensland, and a free sausage sizzle lunch cooked by staff and supported employees for the community to enjoy.
There will also be speeches by Endeavour Foundation’s CEO David Barbagallo and supported employees.
Supported employees like Margaret Hansen, 51, will be on-site to share what they do and why they enjoy working with Endeavour Foundation Industries. Margaret, who suffers cerebral palsy, has been at the Castle Hill site for more than 30 years and can’t see herself leaving.
"I wouldn’t want to work in an outside job," Margaret said.
"I think some people have trouble accepting people with a disability. But at Endeavour we go at our own pace and work within our capabilities. The people here understand how to accommodate people with a disability."
Endeavour Foundation Industries Castle Hill, also known as Sew-It-Rite and Pak-It-Rite, employs 140 people with a disability, who fulfil sewing contracts for various companies including sewing cushion covers, calico bags, dog beds, bean bags, wheat bags, garments and banana bags, as well as providing packaging, filling and assembling services to companies such as filling goodies bags for conferences.
Before coming to the Castle Hill site Margaret had never sewn, but she now enjoys transferring her workplace skills to home life, by sewing clothes and baby wraps for her nieces and nephews.
"I really like sewing things for my family," she said.
"I’ve learnt a lot since being here. I like learning new skills and I like Endeavour’s focus on training, like learning about safety and learning Makaton sign language, which makes it easier for people with a disability to communicate.
"I even help out in administration sometimes which is really good. It means I talk more with customers and get to know them, which is nice."
Endeavour Foundation Industries has three sites in Sydney – Seven Hills, Mt Druitt and Castle Hill — which were acquired from the insolvent Cumberland Industries 12 months ago, thus saving nearly 500 local jobs.
Endeavour Foundation is the largest employer of people with a disability in Australia, with more than 1,800 supported employees working at 26 sites throughout Queensland and New South Wales.
"Endeavour Foundation Industries provides full-time and part-time employment, training, personal development and social opportunities to people with a disability," Garry said.
"The organisation offers a comprehensive assessment to supported employees, to determine the best employment options based on the individual’s skills, abilities, personal goals and availability.
"But a lot of our supported employees don’t just come here for the training and work opportunities – they enjoy the social side of the workplace.
"It’s a friendly, safe and supportive environment and they love the camaraderie, while also knowing they’re making a valued contribution to the community and economy."
Margaret agrees. "They call me a social butterfly – I like working with all of the supported employees an staff here, they’re my friends," she said.
What: Endeavour Foundation Industries Castle Hill open day. Public invited to tour the facility to see the benefits to people with a disability. There will also be information stands, free gourmet food tastings, a free sausage sizzle and speeches. Endeavour Foundation CEO David Barbagallo and Endeavour Board members will fly in for the occasion, which also marks a year since Endeavour Foundation acquired its three Sydney-based services from Cumberland Industries.
When: 10am-1pm, Monday 18 October. Tours from 10am-12.30, speeches 12.30 to 1pm. Sausage sizzle 10am-1pm.
Where: Endeavour Foundation Industries Castle Hill/Sew-It-Rite/Pak-It-Rite Services, Unit D/2 Hudson Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154.
Contact on the day: Cory Magtibay (02) 9846 1500, Denise Apps 02 8867 4213 or 0404 154 693
Jo Glover, Media and Communications Officer
Phone: (07) 3908 7257, 0429 065 440
Fax: (07) 3253 7271