WIN-WIN: Ruby Lewis, Pixie Oxley and Amanda White of Happy Herb Shop.
WIN-WIN: Ruby Lewis, Pixie Oxley and Amanda White of Happy Herb Shop. Adam Wratten

Rocky woman finds work after years of searching

IT'S a dream that has finally come true.

After years of looking, 23-year-old Rockhampton woman Ruby Lewis finally has a permanent job. Since leaving school,

Ms Lewis found it difficult to gain employment due to her intellectual disability and lack of experience.

Frustrated, she turned to APM, a disability employ- ment provider which works with local businesses to find jobs.

After some months, APM consultant Ashley Berzins found a local employer willing to take on the young jobseeker.

"Ashley went along to the interview with Ruby, as Ruby was quite shy and nervous,” APM general manager Adrian Bradley said.

"Fortunately, Ruby and the employer got on very well,” Mr Bradley said.

"The employer hired Ruby, who is now employed for the first time in her life, with a job, money and opportunities.

"This is a great example of how a job can turn someone's life around.”

Ms Lewis has now been employed as a part-time retail assistant with Happy Herb Shop in the Rockhampton CBD for 12 weeks.

Business owner Amanda White said employing a disabled person was something she had always wanted to do.

"I was inspired by our customers, we have a lot

of beautiful customers

that come in that are special needs,” Ms White said. "They love the music in here and the smells.

"And just watching the carers with them, I wanted to do something they do

as well.”

At work, Ms Lewis has many responsibilities.

"I vacuum, mop, dust, serve the customers, greet them,” she said.

And her employer was singing her praises.

"Ruby is amazing on the computer, on the phone, on the EFTPOS, there is never any issues or problems,” Ms White said.

Months into the job now, Ms Lewis is excelling.

"When Ruby first started it was hard for her to serve customers; now she is yelling goodbye to them as they go out the door,” Ms White said.

"(It is) such a confidence boost for her.

"She has come so far in 12 weeks.

"It's good watching her grow; we have regular customers that have noticed it as well.”

And most of all, Ms Lewis is loving it.

"It's new and a good environment,” she said.

Ms White is putting the call out to other local businesses to look at employing those who may have a disability.

"Do it, give it a go, it's worth it,” she said.

"All we are doing is trying to give her a go, it's easy.

"It's not only changing Ruby's life, but others as well, she is interacting with other people and changing their lives.”



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