Published: 18 Jul 2017

Rising to the challenge

For Sinead, having a job has meant so much more than earning an income.

For the past five years, the 25-year-old has been working for McDonald’s. In fact she’s the first employee that McDonald’s in Hoppers Crossing recruited through Wesley Disability Employment Services.

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The aspiring fashion stylist is proving that hard work, commitment and perseverance can lead to great things.

Sinead’s greatest advocate, her Mum Ilona, believes she has the capacity to do whatever her heart desires.

“My daughter has a learning disability, but she’s is very capable. She’s very independent and confident. In many ways she’s ready to take on new experiences, and I know she can do it,” said Ilona.

“When she started working for McDonald’s, she was at a stage of learning. Now she’s more grown up and no longer unsure of her role. Everybody likes and really respects her. She goes to TAFE by herself and after she finishes, she goes to work. Her employment has contributed so much to her being organised and independent.

“I can see Sinead doing really well in the retail field or as a waitress as she’s social and likes interacting with people.”

Sinead is hopeful that when the timing is right, she’ll be able to utilise her strengths, skills and passions in other ways.

“I look after cleaning tables, chairs, changing bins and taking out food to customers. I’ve made a couple of new friends – I help them out a lot, like bringing them milk so that they can keep making coffees. When customers have questions, I like answering them – I’m pretty good at talking to people,” said Sinead.

“I’m studying Certificate II in General Education for Adults. I like the English classes, as I’m a very imaginative person. I would like to do things that are more on the creative side, maybe work in fashion.”

Ilona admires McDonald’s for seeing her daughter as an equal.

“One of the managers at McDonald’s said to me ‘it’s only fair that people with disability get the chance to work as they are so loyal, friendly and reliable’. I respect McDonald’s a lot for letting people have a chance – equality for everybody is important.”

Working at McDonald’s has been a wonderful stepping stone for Sinead. Sinead is one of 32 employees who have secured employment through Wesley’s partnership with McDonald’s.

As part of helping secure employment for people with disabilities, Wesley Disability Employment Services provides clients with interview training, job search support, job placement and regular post placement support to ensure employers and clients are supported throughout the journey.

Wesley Mission Victoria is now known as Uniting. Read more about our journey with 24 other Uniting Church and community service agencies to become a single organisation.