Engaging in meaningful employment is essential for all people, but for those who experience disability access and opportunities can be limited.
To help address this issue, Beyond Labels––a co-venture by Assist Ability Australia and Upparel––was born.
We caught up with Jermaine to discover more about what Beyond Labels offers participants.
Firstly, tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in London and arrived in Australia seven years ago in search of sunshine. I assumed the whole of Australia was warm only to land in Melbourne and find out the hard way. It’s safe to say Melbourne, with its crazy weather, catfished me!
While playing football (soccer) I had the pleasure of meeting the owners of Assist Ability Australia. I then transitioned from playing football part-time and working in sales full-time to being a disability support worker as their very first employee in July 2018.
Being part of a company that puts their participants’ needs first in everything they do is so heartwarming and gives me purpose every day.
Can you tell how Beyond Labels came to be?
Beyond Labels came about from a conversation around sustainability and how we could allow our current participants to be involved in something that could positively impact our environment.
We made contact with Upparel, a leading textile recycler. The owners also saw a gap in the industry for people with disabilities.
We wanted our participants to have an equal opportunity to work, gain experience, make a positive impact on the environment, and have the opportunity to be offered a job by Upparel after our 20-week program. Word of mouth spread and now our program is open to all NDIS-funded participants over the age of 16.
This seems aligned with some of the key talking points of the NDIS Minister, Bill Shorten. Was this a catalyst for establishing Beyond Labels?
Having Mr. Bill Shorten as the NDIS minister and seeing how his values help people with disabilities thrive in employment allowed us to really push the initiative forward.
We’re fortunate to have won the Maribyrnong emerging business award for 2022, an award that affirmed we’re doing the right thing: making positive change and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities in Maribyrnong.
We also currently hire two people with disabilities in administration which is awesome! They’re thriving in their role and really enjoying being employed.
Who is the Beyond Labels service best suited for?
This program is suited for anybody on the NDIS that has Core funding or Capacity Building funding and is over the age of 16.
Which regions does Beyond Labels service?
Beyond Labels service’s the West and East of Melbourne but because we offer a pick-up and drop-off service we can stretch a little further.
What is different between Beyond Labels and other capacity-building programs?
Beyond Labels is a program designed to help people with a disability develop their employment and social skills, and engage with the fashion industry, whilst also making a positive environmental impact.
Do you have capacity?
Yes, we currently have capacity Monday-Friday 10 am – 4 pm.
What’s the best way to get in touch?
Call Jermaine on 0422098108 or email [email protected].