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Charlie rolls up his sleeves to work his way to independence


Whether it be keeping a warehouse in tip-top shape in his role as a storeman or more recently helping to keep the surrounds of his adopted city of Canberra clean, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recipient Charlie Parkman can’t wait to jump in his ute and begin his day.

“Charlie has been working in mainstream employment as a storeman for two years, and recently, he gained a role through LEAD (disability employment service) which is linked to Queanbeyan Council,” said Charlie’s mother Jane.

“He gets to do things like whipper-snipping, weeding, cleaning, and he feels as though he’s using his time in a meaningful and positive way which is one of his major goals.

“He wants to be independent, so it’s been great for him.”

Growing up on a farm in rural New South Wales, Charlie, who was born with an intellectual disability, would mow lawns all day, indulging his love of working with his hands.

Dreaming of one day owning his own farm, Charlie never shied away from rolling his sleeves up and many a day in his youth was spent riding motorbikes, playing rugby and learning to drive, while helping his father and uncle work the land.

Calling on his off-road driving skills, Charlie’s proudest moment was gaining his driver’s licence, which he uses to get to and from work in his recently upgraded ute.

Now 26, it was the family decision to move to Canberra which placed Charlie on a path to his new-found independence, along with a wish to further build capacity following a chance introduction to LEAD.

“I was driving past a gardening place where people were working, so I pulled up and spoke to a supervisor, and they were from LEAD,” Jane said.

“Charlie was working one to two days-a-week and was looking for more, and LEAD proved to be terrific. I was told Charlie could access a further couple of days work a week in supported employment, which could expand to more with capacity building and upskilling.”


To make it all happen, Charlie’s NDIS plan needed updating, which Jane said was a process made simple by Feros Care Local Area Coordinator, Juliana.

“He needed his NDIS plan updated to include disability employment funding. Juliana did the review and she was great,” Jane said.

“She could see he was someone who had goals and a vision for his life. She really got him and understood really quickly what he needed.”

Feeling valued in the workplace, Charlie’s needs are being met which has seen him thrive in the supportive environment.


Combining his mainstream and LEAD employment, Charlie has ticked off a big goal of utilising his time in a meaningful and positive way as he strives towards his major goal of securing full-time work.

His confidence has extended to other aspects of his life, and Charlie lives in his own home, which he mops, vacuums, and maintains to the highest of standards.

The avid rugby fan, who wears a once broken leg sustained in the sport as a badge of honour, was thriving in touch football before the season was postponed.

Also a keen league fan, Charlie was set to run out onto GIO Stadium with his touch side as a curtain-raiser for his beloved Canberra Raiders.

Charlie receives the support he needs to thrive through a solid family unit, and while Jane is hopeful he can find social interaction and satisfaction in his personal life once restrictions in the current climate ease, his confidence only continues to grow.

“I rang him recently to come over for dinner after work and he said, ‘look mum, I need to work tomorrow, and I need to make lunches, so I’ll come over in a couple of days’,” Jane said.

“So, he was letting me down, and I love that as there’s enough going on in his life which is great.

“I’m conscious of him getting lonely, but he has a six-month old puppy which he’s caring for and walking, and he seems to have things in place.

“When Charlie is working it stimulates him and brings the best out of him, so I’d love to see that fall into place socially for him so he can make some connections.

“But his confidence and independence are only rising… he couldn’t be happier, and it’s all made possible through the NDIS.”

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