CAMERON Whitelaw’s parents always believed he was capable of more than the usual opportunities afforded to people with an intellectual disability and high support needs.
So, prior to Mr Whitelaw completing high school, they established a foundation for his future.
The key, his mum Anthea Lema explained, was to create something that matched both his skills and interests.
Using his previous work as inspiration, they established Cam Can Services.
The business takes away the need for people to wait for plumbers, electricians or other services to arrive and complete a task, with Cam and a support worker stepping in to fill that need.
While waiting for the service worker to arrive, Cameron will finish off other tasks negotiated with the homeowner including raking lawns or cleaning cars.
Nine years after being established, Mrs Lema said Cam Can Services had given her 28-year-old son a sense of purpose, with the business now financially self-sufficient.
“It’s been instrumental in changing his life,” she said.
Mr Whitelaw’s story was one case study featured in a new Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report.
Small Business Enterprise Models of Employment: For persons with intellectual disabilities and high support needs looked at the role of family in creating jobs to suit different skill sets.
Lead researcher Stian Thoresen said people with disabilities were often limited to jobs with no development opportunities or little participation in the community.
“This study, which we believe is the first systematic investigation into this emerging employment pathway, suggests an individualised employment approach for people with disabilities through small business enterprises can generate very positive outcomes,” he said.
“The research illustrates how families have been the drivers in establishing these small business enterprises, but it shows more work is needed to support families to establish these initiatives.”
Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson said he was consulting across the state to find ways to increase opportunities for people with disability.
“The advantages of employing people with disability go well beyond the individual who gains a job,” he said.
“Benefits to organisations often include lower absenteeism and employee turnover and low incidence of workplace injury, along with many social inclusion benefits.”
For information visit http://camcanandservices.org.