Benjie finds confidence, independence and acceptance in his role at Sugarloaf Café

Benjie lives with autism and joined WISE Employment after completing Year 12, eight years ago. After working at Sugarloaf Café, and with the support and encouragement from WISE Employment Mount Gambier, Benjie has been able to find confidence and happiness in his role as a kitchen hand.

Benjie, who is 26, was lucky enough to get a job at the café where he went to school. Sugarloaf Café is a commercial kitchen who cater for the school community.

“I really enjoy my job. After Year 12, they offered me the role and I’ve been there ever since – it was actually my first job! I work under two chefs and they’re very supportive. I love working here because I’m able to interact with other people, which has built my confidence and given me a sense of independence,” said Benjie.

WISE Employment has been guiding and supporting Benjie since he started at Sugarloaf Café. The team has frequent check-ins with him every fortnight to make sure he’s comfortable and still enjoys the job. Benjie described WISE as “very understanding and very helpful.”

Benjie speaks highly of the other employees at Sugarloaf Café. He was nervous and anxious when he started the role, but he instantly felt part of the team and genuinely valued.

Benjie believes that over the course of his working life, more people with a disability are being offered roles in the workplace.

“There has been a change in attitude, I think that more and more people are now accepting others for who they are and embracing their differences. I feel like more employers are chosing to hire people with a disability and acknowledging them as an asset.”

After working at Sugarloaf Café for eight years, Benjie is enthusiastic about developing his career in hospitality. He looks forward to the future and hopes that other businesses can take a chance on people who face a similar challenge.

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