13 August 2022

Like most young people leaving school, Jayden was eager to score his first job and start to earn his own money. This goal is significant for any young person, but especially for 19-year-old Jayden who has autism and Kyphosis (curvature of the spine).

Jayden wearing a Coles red polo and yellow high-vis vest.

After struggling to find any type of work, Jayden and his family were referred to Young People’s Employment Pathways (YPEP), a new program offered by Life Without Barriers, that supports young people with disability to find work. Jayden and the YPEP team worked together, and Jayden found a great job that is giving him confidence.

Jayden collecting trolleys for Coles.

Allison, a consultant for YPEP in Western Australia, has supported Jayden throughout his journey. In addition to assisting him with help to stay up to date in his role, Allison checks in to make sure that Jayden is part of the team and doing well in his role.

Allison also supports Jayden to identify potential barriers regarding his specific support needs and provides emotional guidance and counselling.

“Jayden is great at his job! He sometimes requires support understanding procedures or changes at work. My role is to help him understand, explain why it is necessary, and how to adapt,” says Allison.

Allison remembers the day she first met Jayden and his father, to register him for the program.

“Jayden was a little shy, but he soon came out of his shell the more we spoke,” she said.

“He stated he liked fishing, camping, gardening and any work as long as it didn’t involve dealing with lots of people.”

There were a few false starts, and Allison was searching for opportunities when a colleague suggested she get in touch with the Coles Inclusion Team.

The Coles Inclusion Team filter through streams of job applications, looking for jobseekers that have a disability. Allison quickly got in touch with the Team Leader and sent off Jayden’s Resume.

“Within a week, I received a phone call to see if Jayden could come in for an interview for a trolley collecting job at Coles, said Allison.

Allison immediately contacted Jayden, explained some of the duties and asked if he would be willing to do this type of work. “YES!" was the answer.

On the day of the interview, Allison arranged to meet Jayden and his father at the store.

“We were both very nervous but excited at the same time,” said Allison.

“In the interview, Jayden answered all the questions brilliantly."

"As I sat there listening, I felt my eyes welling up with tears as I was so proud of his effort.”

Jayden with Allison.

Allison was also there to offer on the job support during his induction and training, which he sailed through with flying colours and was asked to start work the next day.

On the way home that evening, they picked up takeaway and chatted about what he would do with his pay. Jayden said he would pay his Mum and Dad some board, explaining that bringing up a child costs an average of one million dollars. He was also keen to upgrade his mobile phone to one which takes photos.

Since Jayden started his job, his confidence has grown, he has made new friends, and he feels he has started a new journey in life.

Thanks for allowing us to share your story Jayden!

Jayden with his new Coles supervisor.

A person's story is precious. We take storytelling seriously. Sometimes people are able to tell their own story, and we love that. We always make sure they give us their ok, and we will always honour the trust placed in us to bring their story forward.

Young People’s Employment Pathways

Young People’s Employment Pathways supports young people with disability to gain skills and experience and to find meaningful employment.

Related Stories