Jonathon, who has autism, slam-dunks goals on and off court

Jonathon, who has autism, found work with help from WISE Employment Preston

Reliable, passionate and forthright, Jonathon has been employed at becca FOODSTORE since 2013. At 25, he’s determined to not let autism get in the way of living a full and active life.

With the support of WISE Employment Preston, Jonathon started working at café and commercial kitchen, becca FOODSTORE five years ago. Going from two days a week to full time, he has cemented himself as a key player within the business. His role sees him assist with food preparation, food delivery, unpacking stock and greeting customers.

Jonathon loves going to work every day, “I enjoy it a lot. It can be frantic, 11am to 2pm is when we’re busiest. My favourite part about working is the friends and family I have at becca FOODSTORE.”

Jonathon’s employer, Rebecca, loves having Jonathon on the team and describes him as an honest, reliable and a consistent employee. Rebecca explained that no day is the same when Jonathan is on shift. “He’s ridiculously funny and liked by so many people, everyone in the community knows Jonathon. He’s obsessed with the footy! Sometimes he’ll actually walk into the local dentist when there’s a patient on the chair, just to tell them the footy score and say hello!”

Jonathon has also familiarised himself with Rebecca’s personal diary and much to the amusement of Rebecca, will often correct her and remind her of things such as her children’s after school activities or upcoming meetings. Both Jonathon and Rebecca have formed a very close friendship, Rebecca has even set Jonathon up with girlfriends!

Rebecca works extremely closely with WISE Employment to ensure everyone is happy in their roles. With Jonathon’s disability, it can be difficult for him to concentrate, understand social interactions and deal with any routine changes.

“I know Jonathon inside out, but things can happen and there are times when he can’t cope. For example, if we hire someone new he can get quite stressed, so it’s important for me to discuss these changes with WISE Employment so they can help us work out the best way to move forward,” said Rebecca.

Rebecca checks in with WISE Employment on a weekly basis, as does Jonathon.

For Jonathon, having a job has meant more confidence and independence. He spends his weekends on the basketball court, sharing meals with his girlfriend, and loves going to concerts.

Rebecca would encourage other employers looking to take on someone with a disability to take the leap. She explained that whilst it can take time to train someone living with a disability, it’s all worth it.

“Take the time to teach and inspire. People think they can’t learn, but they can. Invest in someone and you’ll get an invaluable employee. This is Jonathon’s place, his home away from home.”

Read Jonathon’s story in his own words: ‘Jonathon Tan finds wise support to work’

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