In snapshot, tell us about Sprout Space and what you do?
We are a small organisation based in Mandurah, Western Australia, specialising in Customised Employment, including microenterprises for people with disabilities. We take an individualised approach to guiding NDIS participants through a Discovery Process, where we uncover their hidden talents, skills, passions, interests, and abilities. We then use this information to either carve out a meaningful role or support the participant to develop their own microenterprise business.
Can you describe your experience in working with individuals with disabilities, and how have you helped them identify and pursue employment opportunities that align with their skills and interests?
My experience working with individuals with disability stretches back 15 years, I discovered my passion for working with individuals with disabilities accidentally – and I am so grateful I did!
We believe everyone has unique talents and abilities that can be harnessed to create a successful career or business. With our personalised approach, we take the time to get to know each participant and understand their specific needs and goals.
The first and most important part of our approach is the Discovery Process, which involves helping participants explore and identify their strengths, interests, and skills. We also consult their support networks, including family, friends, teachers, and colleagues, to ensure we get the whole picture of the participant.
Depending on the individual’s goals, we then work with them to develop a tailored plan for their employment or microenterprise business. For those seeking traditional employment, we provide support and guidance throughout the job search process, including resume preparation, interview skills, and job matching.
In your opinion, what are the most important factors to consider when matching an individual with a disability to a potential job or employer? How have you incorporated these factors into your work in the past?
In terms of the individual – If you get the Discovery Process right, you will understand what kind of work is meaningful and purposeful for that individual and therefore match them with an opportunity that is going to meet their needs.
For a potential employer, understanding their values, culture and business needs is very important. Reassuring the employer that they will have ongoing support and that we will check in regularly and work together to address any barriers and refine processes to ensure that everyone is getting the support they need.
Recently we have gone through this process with Georgia and Flick at WOTSO Mandurah. We could see that the team had a lot of work and suggested that they consider customised employment as a solution. The WOTSO team were very open to this, and we began finding out the business’s needs.
We introduced Brody to the team and discussed the tasks they needed, and he started doing some work experience. Brody has settled in and is now part of the furniture at WOTSO. Brody loves his job and loves the community that surrounds him at WOTSO.
Can you describe an instance when you faced a significant challenge or setback in helping an individual secure employment? How did you handle the situation, and what did you learn from the experience?
One instance that immediately springs to mind was when we were working with a young man going through the Discovery Process. At that point, he was engaged with another provider who had placed him in a position at a supermarket doing trolley collecting. This young man has studied Certificate 3 in Business Administration and had started studying for a certification in Information Technology – he will definitely not be keen on trolley collecting!
Unfortunately, he lost his job there, and his provider didn’t know what to do with him. We kept working through the Discovery Process and realised that one of his favourite hobbies is playing Dungeons and Dragons. This discovery sparked the idea of him having his own microenterprise where he runs Dungeons and Dragons groups – and gets paid! He is now doing something he loves, is meaningful for him and gives him an income.
Finally, what exciting things can we expect from Sprout Space this new year?
Sprout Space is getting bigger! We are thrilled to be growing our business and expanding our team. We are so looking forward to helping more people on their journey to finding meaningful employment.
We might even need to upsize our office at WOSTO to accommodate our growth – exciting times ahead!