Jake Parker has had a job with Endeavour Foundation in Mackay for just over 18 months but in that time, the 22-year-old has achieved a huge amount.
He’s got a forklift and a truck licence and you’ll often see him whizzing around the site, picking up pallets and transporting materials, which is outstanding when you consider Jake has only one arm.
This week Endeavour Foundation in Mackay is celebrating an incredible 50 years of providing meaningful work to people like Jake.
Founded in 1960, Endeavour Foundation’s Mackay branch initially formed with a focus on improving the education opportunities for people with intellectual disability but by 1968 a workshop had opened to provide jobs to 20 people as well.
Fifty years later, Endeavour Foundation employs 72 people with disability in Mackay and sells on average $280,000 of products per month to the community and the mining industry, with any profits going back into supporting people with disability.
Products sold on site include, hardwood and pine pallets, crates, PVC guideposts, sleepers and dunnage, seismic markers, industrial cleaning cloth and even personal protective equipment (PPE).
Site Manager Shaun McAullay said working for Endeavour Foundation in Mackay was one of the most rewarding jobs he’d ever had.
“I’ve worked in a lot of industries but our employees in Mackay are so happy, it makes coming to work each morning something I look forward to,” said Mr McAullay.
“Developing skills for our employees is as important at Endeavour Foundation as it is at any business.
“I get a big kick out of seeing employees achieve that goal they’ve been working on for a while, such as the first time they work on a pallet or crate from start to finish.
“Some people, like Jake, we’ve even helped to get their truck, forklift and driving licences, which are transferable skills that put them on the path to open employment and greater independence.”
For Jake Parker, the message is as positive as it is clear.
“Don’t lose hope – stick to your goals,” Mr Parker said.
And when asked how he drives a forklift with only one arm?
“Like a boss!” he replied.
To find out how Endeavour Foundation can work with you to help you live your best life under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, call 1800 112 112 or go to www.endeavour.com.au.