It doesn’t matter if you have a disability, you can still get a job

24 April 2019

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“When I got the job I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited.” Ben McGill tells us how it makes him feel to have a job. And he has good advice for others with intellectual disability who are looking for work.

Ben works part time at Forum 6 cinemas in Wagga Wagga. This is Ben’s first paid job.

How did you get your job at Forum 6?

I did work experience in year 12. I did one morning a week at Forum 6 for about 2 months.

When I finished my work experience I asked the Manager Craig how I could get a job at the cinema. He told me to fill out an application form. I had an interview and he told me I got the job.

How does it feel to have a job?

When Craig told me I got the job I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited. I was surprised and pleased to have a job.

On my first day I was nervous but excited. I was nervous about dealing with customers and worried that I might get something wrong.

Other people have told me they were nervous when they started their job too. But you get more confident as you learn new things.

It feels exciting to have a job because finally I am getting paid. Having a job makes me more independent. I can put petrol in my car and credit on my phone. And I can buy the things I want.

Getting my first pay was really good. It was exciting to see how much money I got paid. It felt like big money!

What makes you a good employee?

The customers like that I am friendly and have a chat with them.

My workmates like how enthusiastic I am and they like how I just get the job done.

I always turn up to work. I am reliable.

I am good at making popcorn and I like ripping up the tickets when people go into the movie.

What is the best thing about your job?

I like my workmates. It’s good to work as a team.

I like it when there are a few of us cleaning the cinemas when they are really messy. This always happens in school holidays when we are really busy. There’s always popcorn on the floor and stuff everywhere.

Lots of customers know my name and say ‘hello Ben’ when they see me. And we have a chat. It feels amazing when people just treat me the same as everyone else.

What is hard about your job?

Sometimes customers can be rude. One time some customers were getting angry because I would not let them go into a different cinema. They swore at me. I went and told my workmate Zain and he spoke to them. They were rude to Zain too and he asked them to leave.

Sometimes rude customers upset me. But Zain told me not to worry about what they say to me. He told me if there are any rude customers to let him know and he would deal with them.

Who supports you to do your job?

My workmates support me.

When I first started my job something that helped me to feel less nervous was my workmate Zain. He came up and introduced himself to me. He showed me how to do different things. He told me to ask him if there was anything I needed help with. Zain can see when I am struggling with certain things and he just helps me.

My Manager Craig helps me too. He does not give me too much work. I can tell him if I am struggling with anything. Craig knows that I need help with certain things. And he gets people to help me.

I have a badge that says ‘in training’. So customers can see that I am new and I do not know everything.

What advice would you give to others looking for their first job?

Try and do some work experience. You can see if you like it. And if you like it tell the Manager that you want a job and put an application form in.

And don’t give up your job, because work is more important than your PlayStation. I tell my friends that they should get jobs so they can earn money and be more independent like me.

Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t do things. It doesn’t matter if you have a disability, you can still get a job.

What would you like to tell employers about hiring people with intellectual disability?

Give people with a disability a shot. We are reliable and we are helpful. People with disabilities might need a bit more help or support but they want to work. It is not hard to show them what to do and give them a bit more help if they need it.

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More Than Just a Job is funded through an NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grant.

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