JOBS FOR ALL: Sunshine Coast social enterprise business Compass is setting a great example of how to engage people with disabilities in meaningful employment. Pictured at its Compass Connections Cafe are Matt Murray (Sunshine Coast's Best Used Cars), Compass CEO David Dangerfield and employees Renee and Sophie.
JOBS FOR ALL: Sunshine Coast social enterprise business Compass is setting a great example of how to engage people with disabilities in meaningful employment. Pictured at its Compass Connections Cafe are Matt Murray (Sunshine Coast's Best Used Cars), Compass CEO David Dangerfield and employees Renee and Sophie. Contributed.

How work can change the lives of people with disabilities

SMART ways to assist marginalised people find pathways to employment will be explored a social enterprise forum to be held on the Sunshine Coast during Disability Awareness Month.

Twenty social enterprise groups from through south east Queensland will showcase the different approaches they use to the shared goal of assisting people to reach their full potential.

The event is being hosted by Parent to Parent, a Sunshine Coast disability service organisation which provides plan management for people with individual support packages as well as running National Disability Insurance Scheme readiness workshops.

Spokeswoman Michelle Knights said social enterprise businesses used profits to support their core function of supporting the marginalised.

The Palmwoods-based Compass Institute is one of Queensland's largest social enterprise organisations running everything from coffee shops and retail outlets to a farm to provide employment opportunities for people who would otherwise struggle.

Others to take part include Substation 33 which runs an electronic waste recycling facility at Logan providing meaningful activity for people with mental health issues, young people from foster homes and indigenous youths.

Ms Knights said all of those involved in the forum focus on how to develop skill sets to help people into open employment.

The company Traction focuses on youths have disengaged from education, teaching bike mechanics as a way to re-engage them with learning and to get their lives back on track.

Another, Vanguard Laundries, runs a commercial laundry to employ people with mental health disabilities, starting them part-time with some able to increase their hours to the point of achieving full-time employment.

Ms Knights said the companies to showcase at the forum were turning lives around, encouraging people who would otherwise sit home and do nothing to become fully engaged.

As well as developing skills participants were able to form friendship circles and generally improve their lives for the better.

"We're holding the forum here in the hope we can garner the energy and ideas which would help create more social enterprise businesses here on the Sunshine Coast," Ms Knights said.

The 2017 Social Enterprise Forum will be held from 9am-4pm at the University of the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre on September 13.

Registration closes September 11. Contact Parent To Parent on 1800 777 723 or email on 

info@p2pqld.org.au



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