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When construction is complete, 211 supported employees from Yeerongpilly and Wacol will be brought together in one modern complex, creating Queensland’s largest Australian Disability Enterprise.
The facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to be operated by employees with a disability – all in keeping with the strict regulations governing a commercial food packaging facility.
Supported employee Daniel Rivers who has worked at Yeerongpilly for ten years says he is looking forward to the move.
“The Wacol site is closer to home for me and I will have a nice place to work,” Mr Rivers said. Having been promoted over the years, Mr Rivers is now a Line Assistant in the licensed food packing room at Yeerongpilly, working to strict guidelines around hygiene and food packaging.
“I have learned lots of skills along the way about how to communicate with people and work safely, which has made me more confident at work,” he said.
General Manager of Commercial Operations Andrew Donne said that every day Endeavour Foundation staff members see the confidence, self-esteem and sense of purpose that meaningful employment can bring to a person with a disability.
“More than 45% of Australians with a disability live below the poverty line, with few employment opportunities available compared with other developed nations. Endeavour Foundation is the largest employer of people with a disability in Australia and is committed to genuine employment opportunities for people with a disability in this region.
“Local Rotary Club members have seen first-hand the impact of employment opportunities for people with a disability, and have already raised $80,000 towards this $3 million project,” Mr Donne said.
CEO David Barbagallo said possible road and tunnel developments had also cast uncertainty over the Yeerongpilly service, and the time was right to build a roomier, modern site.
“A larger facility will also provide more career development opportunities for employees with a disability. The production efficiencies we gain will help us to remain commercial viable, guaranteeing future employment options for people with a disability,” Mr Barbagallo said.
The Rotary Club of Brisbane Inner West has partnered with Endeavour Foundation to support the project, and members were on hand to tour the construction site with supported employees. Rotary has donated $80,000 to the project and hopes to raise more than $250,000, with the remaining costs to be met by Endeavour Foundation fundraising.