HARDWORK PAYS OFF: Harry is enjoying his new role at Ballina RSL. (L-R) Petar Ilic (ON-Q), Harry Eggins and Bill Coultier, CEO, Ballina RSL.
HARDWORK PAYS OFF: Harry is enjoying his new role at Ballina RSL. (L-R) Petar Ilic (ON-Q), Harry Eggins and Bill Coultier, CEO, Ballina RSL. contributed

Harry goes from strength to strength with new job at RSL

AN AMAZING work experience opportunity has landed a school-leaver with disability a permanent job and new passion for hospitality.

Harry was a young school leaver when he began at Maggie and Mr Jones café in Ballina, undertaking work experience as part of the NDIS School Leaver Employment Support program.

He did so well at his work experience, the social café offered him on-going paid employment in the team.

After a successful 10 months working in the café, and with support from Petar Ilic from ON-Q, Harry's service skills were brought to the attention of the chief executive of the Ballina RSL, Bill Coulter.

Mr Coulter said Harry impressed him with his friendly and efficient style during a very busy morning in the café.

Harry was invited to attend a recruitment process with the RSL and was thrilled to gain employment with the club in March this year.

In a larger environment with more tasks and responsibilities, Harry said he was really enjoying his new role.

"I'm really liking it here and I've already made good friends which makes it fun,” Harry said.

"I mainly work in the café as well as on the floor so I get to meet a lot more people and practice my communication skills. Maggie's was great for me to gain confidence and the skills needed to get me into this job”.

His employer was also thrilled with Harry's work performance.

"Harry fits in with the team so well,” Mr Coulter said.

"He is jovial, happy and exudes a lot of energy that rubs off on us all. In hospitality it's important to have a great personality and interact well with the customers, like Harry does. He's a great addition to the Ballina RSL team.”

Maggie and Mr Jones (or just 'Maggie's' to the locals) is a social enterprise café, owned and operated by ON-Q Disability Employment Support Services. Founded in 1988, ON-Q is a not for profit company that enables people with disability to realise their full potential through participation in meaningful employment.

Being a social enterprise Maggie and Mr Jones exists to provide training and employment opportunities for people in the Ballina community with disability.

The business is "coffee with a purpose.”

Maggie's is well known for its atmosphere, food and excellent coffee and is rated in top two according to Beanhunter reviews.

ON-Q CEO Lisa Smith said the purpose of the service was to increase workforce participation rates for people with a disability.

"We are extremely proud of Harry and will continue to support and follow his progress at the Ballina RSL. The initial training ground at Maggie's has given Harry the skills and confidence to progress in his career,” she said.

"Harry is another success story for our social enterprise café and a great example of the support ON-Q provide”,

The local community is invited to attend Maggie and Mr Jones three year birthday celebrations on Tuesday, June 11, from 10am.

For more information about the disability employment services provided by ON-Q visit www.onq.org.au