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The best moments from our All-Inclusive Employment Expo

Our community development team in Adelaide’s north pulled out all the stops to ensure the recent All-Inclusive Employment Expo had everything a jobseeker could be looking for.

Despite a few anxious moments in the lead-up, all the hard work paid off, with more than 130 attendees coming through the doors on Friday 17 September 2021.

TeeJay Milam, the Feros Care Community Development Coordinator who led the Expo team, says the event attracted a broad range of people from Year 7 students right through to people in their 50s and 60s.

“It was just so pleasing to see after all the effort we put into it,” TeeJay says. “We started organising back in May for a July Expo, then South Australia’s COVID-19 lockdown in July threatened the whole event, but in the end
everyone rallied around the rescheduled date and it came together really well.”

Connecting jobseekers with employers

The all-day Expo took place at the Hewett Community Centre near Gawler. It was a great opportunity for all jobseekers in the region to connect with employers, gather career information and participate in a series of workshops aimed at improving employment prospects.

“Given Feros Care’s role in the disability sector we made a particular effort to encourage jobseekers with disabilities to attend,” TeeJay says. “That was one of the reasons we held the Expo at the community centre as it has plenty of accessible features such as wide doors, ramps and accessible toilets.

“We ensured we had wide aisles between stalls and also offered free transport to people who otherwise might not have been able to attend. We wanted to make it a comfortable experience for everyone who wanted to come.”

Some 35 stallholders were there on the day, including disability employment providers, health and training organisations, local employers and a number of micro/social enterprises run by people with disabilities.

“Grace’s Handmade Cards and LycanSoap are businesses established and run by people with disability and they got a lot of traction, with many attendees eager to find out how to set up their own microenterprises,” TeeJay says. “They sold plenty of products as well!

“Volunteers from No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability also came along to chat with the attendees and the Kingfisher Inclusive Café at the community centre was open from start to finish – they ended up having one of their most successful
days since opening, with over $800 in coffee sales alone.

“We’re also very grateful for the support we received from our local State MP Tony Piccolo, who went out of his way to publicise the Expo and attend as a stallholder in person.”

An Expo highlight was the program of workshops that took place throughout the day.

The Secrets for Successful Communication workshop featured presenter Cale Porter from community radio station Fresh FM 92.7, who provided tips on voice projection, how to communicate effectively, and opportunities to pursue a career in the media.

“This was a very popular interactive workshop – especially with the schoolkids – and Fresh FM has been a great promoter of local employment opportunities through its ongoing Fresh Jobs campaign, so hats off to Cale and his team,”
TeeJay says.

Another well-attended workshop was the Dress For Success interactive session run by well-known local stylist, trainer and disability advocate Nerida Lamprill.

“Nerida has lived experience of disability in her own family and was able to provide an interactive and empowering session on how to give your best first impression through wearing appropriate clothes and makeup,” TeeJay says.

“In fact a fair few of our Local Area Coordinators popped into that workshop to pass on tips to their participants, and we’re hoping Nerida may be able to run future workshops for our LACs.”

Feros Care LACs also conducted workshops on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and provided information on how Feros Care supports jobseekers with disability whether or not they are NDIS participants.

“Our workshops focused on the various pathways into employment, and our LACs also offered one-on-one chats about the NDIS and how to join the Scheme,” TeeJay says. 

“These sorts of sessions are a very important part of our outreach programs because in urban fringe areas such as Gawler and the Lower Light region there are still many people living with disability who aren’t aware of the supports available
to them in their local community.”

Although the Expo is not the first inclusive employment event put on by Feros Care’s Adelaide-based team, it is certainly the biggest – and its success has Feros Care investigating the possibility of holding another Expo next year.

“We had great feedback on our evaluation forms, including from one attendee who wanted to know why our rating range was only one to five when she said the Expo was a ‘ten out ten’!” she says.

“In the meantime we’re busy researching the possibility of a future expo, perhaps with a microenterprise focus, so watch this space.” 

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