Daughter’s plight

Helen Granville has put her career on hold to establish a career for daughter Heather Rudd. Picture: Susanne Reilly
Helen Granville has put her career on hold to establish a career for daughter Heather Rudd. Picture: Susanne Reilly

Heather Rudd (26) has a moderate intellectual disability that makes spoken communication very difficult and despite a strong work ethic demonstrated in her role as administration support contract worker with the Disabilities Services Commission, her future employment is not secure.

The Como mum is appealing for the State Government to examine funding options for a Transition To Work (TTW) program in WA to increase employment rates for young people with a disability.

The recommendation is one of several in the National Disability Services (NDS) WA branch’s 2014-2015 Pre-Budget Submission to the State Government that lobbies for it to investigate post-school programs to give young disabled people real employment options.

The report says disability supported employment services, known as Business Services or sheltered workshops funded by the Department of Families and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, are inadequate.

‘A TTW program needs to be available to eligible young people unable to immediately access government programs due to their additional support needs,’ the report says.

Mrs Granville said there would come a time when Heather would need the resources to live independently and stable employment was paramount.

She has put her own career as senior operations manager at NDS WA on hold to help establish secure employment for her daughter by setting up a tea towel laundry service where Heather provides offices with clean tea towels on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

‘Heather’s administration work is on a six-month contract basis and we never know how long it will last with government cuts. I do the invoicing and marketing for her tea towel business but she does all the washing. She has great customer service skills and loves to interact with people,’ Mrs Granville said.

‘It wasn’t an easy decision to leave my job but I needed to concentrate on Heather.

‘It is tough financially too.

‘Not many families with children with disability can have two incomes.

‘Work training is a really important area.

‘We struggled and we work in the disability services industry so it must be hard for people who don’t know where to turn, especially with a lack of programs.’