Peter, who is Hard of Hearing, celebrates nearly 40 years at PepsiCo

Peter, who is Hard of Hearing, celebrates nearly 40 years at PepsiCoPeter has a good sense of humour, is a proud Adelaide Crows supporter and a member of the Deaf community. He is a loyal and dedicated employee, having worked with PepsiCo in Adelaide for almost forty years.

Peter entered the workforce when disability employment services and departments of human services were not as well established. Through the support of his sister and his commitment to not allowing his barriers to employment impact his independence, he secured a role at PepsiCo’s warehouse and has grown with the company over time.

“I work in dispatch, I do the labelling and scanning for all the savoury snacks like Twisties, I get everything ready to leave the factory. I really like my job. When I first started, the job was very physical where I was lifting 1,000 boxes a day. With the new technology, it’s not as physical, and I have since then put on some weight!” explained Peter.

Peter’s colleagues have embraced Peter’s communication methods by learning basic Auslan, Australian Sign Language. His Warehouse Manager has also started to learn the basics; this makes for a more productive and inclusive work environment.

Peter’s Warehouse Manager Mike, has been working with Peter for a few years and is impressed by his ability and adaptability with embracing the new technological developments PepsiCo’s has introduced.

“PepsiCo has evolved from a manual operation to an automated site and this is something that Peter has coped with very well with supports. He is highly accurate in his work – in fact we never find a mistake with the pallets that he deals with. On the contrary, Peter tends to spot the mistakes; he has this uncanny sense of picking up errors before anyone else,” said Mike.

Peter’s full-time role includes him managing all the stock that is sent interstate and entering the number of pallets into the system. He manages up to 300 pallets a day with up to 21 products coming through at any one time. For Peter, the opportunity to grow with an organisation that continues to embrace change is appreciated.

“At PepsiCo we are big on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I think with recruitment you have to base everyone on their own merits. For instance with Peter, we started off by having letters plastered around the place and now we have colleagues using Auslan. From a safety perspective (for Peter and others) we have blue lights for our forklifts, so everyone is aware of when they’re near. PepsiCo is also in the process of arranging Deaf Awareness Training for staff, ” explained Mike.

Peter loves his work, he lives independently, owns his own car and home. He enjoys the support he has received from PepsiCo along with the close relationships he has formed with colleagues and his support network at WISE Employment.

Nicola, Employment Consultant at WISE Hindmarsh in South Australia has been instrumental in helping Peter. Nicola is a specialist consultant in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Unit at WISE Employment, not only does she support in this area but also supports with any other barriers in the workplace through constant communication and supportive tools.

“I visit Peter weekly on his lunch break every Tuesday. We practise Peter’s English which is a goal highlighted by Peter that he would like to work towards to improve his reading. This includes reading a newspaper and then going through the weather. PepsiCo has a number of screens with work updates and as part of our reading routine, I inform Peter of relevant news and activities that he may decide to partake in.

Our weekly banter is really an opportunity for Peter to talk about the good stuff, problem solve and have that social contact in Auslan within the workplace. We’ve been working together for almost three years and it’s great to see Peter come a long way. He is more resilient to changes and I believe his job security and consistency, combined with a culture that has a strong Deaf awareness, has largely played a role,” explained Nicola.

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