Mrs Helen Neale1
1Community Living Project, Christies Beach, Australia
The Micro Enterprise (ME) Project has operated in SA since 2012, offering strong employment and skill development outcomes and increased community participation for people with intellectual and other disabilities. However, due to low awareness and systemic barriers to access, there has been low uptake of ME as an employment option.
Through an NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity (ILC) grant, Community Living Project is informing people with Intellectual disability, their families, stakeholders and community members about ME as a meaningful and exciting career option. Seven Enterprise Owners with Intellectual disability were upskilled in presentation skills to form a presenting team through education, support and practice opportunities. They were also filmed so their story could be shared widely, particularly through COVID-19 restrictions. Pre and post surveys were independently evaluated for all sessions during training and trial presentations.
Based on independent evaluations, outcomes indicate increased presenting confidence and reduced anxiety, increased awareness of the role and image of a presenter, greater peer recognition and enjoyment of valued roles of presenter and role model.
Enterprise Owners have become an integral part of the project presenting team. They can more confidently share to a wide audience how ME has given them pride, purpose and connection to their community, and can now add “public speaker” to their valued roles. It also builds evidence of the power of people with Intellectual disability acting as forum presenters to their peers as a means of inspiring new possibilities.
Helen Neale is the project lead of CLP’s ILC grant project, “Discover Micro Enterprise- Exploring Possibilities”. Helen’s work in this area has been enhanced by her lived experience with her young adult son who has an Intellectual Disability and a very successful Micro Enterprise.