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issue nine december 2006


Jack and Eleanor Bendat with apprentices and trainees with disabilities who have recently completed their courses through EDGE.
Take a moment to ponder this: every minute of last year, Western Australia produced $82,000 worth of minerals and energy. That’s $43 billion in a full year.

With all this wealth being generated by companies and individuals alike, it is fantastic to see some people giving something back to the community. One such person is Jack Bendat, who presented EDGE Managing Director, Sue Robertson with a cheque for $100,000 at a presentation in EDGE’s Boardroom in August. Jack and Eleanor Bendat are well known for their philanthropic endeavours, having given millions of dollars to deserving causes throughout Western Australia.

In presenting the cheque, Jack said that "It's important that when you've been successful, you give something back. Western Australia has been very, very good to me and my family. We have a good way of living, but it's a shame with the money that we have and the success that we have, that it's not put back where it's needed."

In gratefully accepting the cheque Sue said that, "EDGE will use the interest generated from the Bendat Family Scholarship Fund to research and develop programs that improve the employment prospects for youth with disabilities to undertake apprenticeships and traineeships to help meet WA’s skill shortages. EDGE is already supporting more than 60 people with disabilities in various apprenticeships and traineeships."


Diane receives her award from former Minister for Education and Training, Ljiljanna Ravlich and President of Group Training Australia (WA) Ian Linn.
Dianne Saunders always dreamed of finding a job which combined her love of sport with her ability as an administrator. So when she saw AFL Sportsready advertising for a part-time, Certificate II in Sport and Recreation she jumped at the chance. Twelve months on Dianne has been recognised for her outstanding achievements by winning the 2006 Group Training, Trainee of the Year (Disability) Award.

What makes this story even more remarkable is that Dianne is an elite swimmer who has represented Australia at the Paralympics. She needed to balance the demands of starting a new job with the associated study and, at the same time, maintain her gruelling training schedule in the pool. "I couldn’t believe it when I won the award, as there were so many other strong contenders. I remember sometimes that it wasn’t easy and sometimes I’d just want to have a good sleep in. But it has all been so worthwhile," said an ecstatic Dianne, after the award ceremony.

Like any new trainee, Dianne had a minimal range of skills when she started, but with the same dogged determination that she has shown in the pool, Dianne has dramatically increased her abilities and now takes charge of the monthly WA newsletter for AFL Sportsready. A committed employee, her host employer describes her as extremely reliable, and her enthusiasm and commitment to work is at the highest level.

"We are thrilled to present Dianne with the Trainee of the Year (Disability) Award," Cheryl Jahour of Group Training Australia said. "Dianne has worked hard and made an outstanding contribution as a trainee. Her achievements will inspire others to make the most of their training opportunities."

These achievements, along with her recent effort sat the Athens Paralympics, where she achieved the highest placing of any West Australian swimmer, makes us think that Dianne has a great future ahead of her - whether that is in the pool or in sports administration.

Eddie Ryan pictured with a co-worker on site at Score Pacific.


Western Australia’s economic boom has created major labour shortages.  Instead of looking overseas for suitable staff, Score Pacific decided to solve their staffing needs by employing people with disabilities. The end result has been much more than just a solution to their recruitment needs!

In 2004, Score Pacific approached EDGE about recruiting an administration assistant.  Since then, 10 people have been given employment opportunities, with eight currently still employed. Score Pacific has employed people in a variety of areas, including accounts, administration, document control and building maintenance.

From the success of this first placement it quickly became evident that the new approach to recruitment had been a win-win for everyone. As David Wood, the CEO of Score Pacific says, “why wouldn’t we recruit people from EDGE? The staff they provide are motivated, loyal and reliable and, from a business perspective, it’s extremely cost effective."

EDGE presented Score Pacific with a Leading EDGE Employer Award in October and also nominated them for the prestigious Prime Minister’s Employer of the Year Award. Although they did not take off the main award, with their strong belief in, and commitment to, employing people with disabilities we believe it is only a matter of time before they are recognised nationally for their efforts.


Maud Edmiston receives the Leading Edge Employer Award from EDGE Managing Director, Sue Robertson.

Miss Maud Hotel and Restaurants have been a permanent fixture of the Perth hospitability scene for over 30 years. Miss Maud herself is a woman who believes strongly in supporting the community and is well known for her support of Telethon.

In November Miss Maud was presented with a Leading EDGE Employer Award, in recognition of the worthy contribution made by Miss Maud to providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Miss Maud currently has recruited four people through EDGE, who are completing Australian Traineeships in several areas of hospitality. These traineeships allow workers to grow and flourish in a sustained and ever changing environment. Miss Maud pictured here accepting the award from Sue Robertson, was ‘thrilled’ with receiving the award and thanked EDGE for their work in the community and that Miss Maud was proud to be associated with them.

One of the success stories is Jonathan and William, brothers who both work as apprentice chefs at the Miss Maud Swedish Restaurant and Bakehouse. Their mother, Ginni-Marie said that, "She created her sons’ lives – but Miss Maud has given them a chance to have fulfilling lives by employing them." Up until that point, the family had to deal with so many disappointments that it was becoming difficult to stay positive. The traineeship was so much more than a job.

(Excerpts reprinted with permission from the Miss Maud newsletter)

Miguel Marcelino holds aloft the tournament mascot after the Silver Medal presentation.


At the recent Far East and Southern Pacific Games for People with Disabilities (FESPIC) Games held in Kuala Lumpur, the Australian soccer team led by long time EDGE client, Miguel Marcelino, shocked everybody by taking the silver medal.

After accounting for the highly fancied Japanese team 4-0 in the semi final, the young Australian team faced off against the much more experienced Iranian team.

The match was a great chance for the young Aussies (containing four teenagers) to assess their progress against one of the best teams in the world. While they were beaten in the final, Miguel said, "The team had shown real ‘Aussie’ spirit to fight back from a bad start in the final. We are all so proud of our silver medal." The next stop for this young team of achievers is the World Cup in Brazil in 2007.

Miguel pictured here holding up the games mascot has been involved with EDGE since 1988, when he started out collecting trolleys. Miguel has worked in the Guild at Curtin University for the past 12 years.


Silvana receives her Leading EDGE Advocate Award from Sue Roberston.
The State Government is the single largest employer in Western Australia and offers employees many advantages over the private sector. However, it can be difficult to secure employment in the public sector, and getting that first break can make all the difference.

One person who has worked tirelessly in assisting many of EDGE’s job seekers with disabilities into government agencies is Silvana Gaglia, from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Last month, Silvana’s efforts were recognised when she was presented with a Leading EDGE Advocate Award for assisting people with disabilities to gain employment in the WA Public Sector.

EDGE Managing Director, Sue Robertson, commended Silvana on her efforts when presenting her with the award. "The government’s Disability Employment Program recruits and registers job seekers for employment in WA Public Sector agencies through the School-Based and Business Traineeship Programs and the Entry Level Employment Program. Last financial year, 12% of all placements secured by EDGE were in the public sector", Sue said.

"Without champions such as Silvana in the public sector, we would not have had such a good result. She is a very deserving recipient of the award."

Copyright © 2002 EDGE Employment Solutions Inc. - All Rights Reserved. No part of this newsletter may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission. All guest articles are copyright to their respective owners and are reproduced with permission.

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