Why We Need to Talk About Employment

On this page you can watch the recording of the first session of the Let's Get To Work Virtual Conference in June 2020.

Let’s Get To Work – Session 1

Jan Kruger, the Executive Director of Imagine More, welcomed hundreds of viewers to session 1 of our first-ever virtual conference. She then described the reality of employment for people with disability. Unfortunately, it’s quite grim, especially for people with an intellectual disability and Down syndrome.

But it’s not all bad news. There are some great stories of people with disability finding valued and well-paid work in open employment. Others have set up their own small business, usually a microenterprise which is much like being a sole-trader.

In this session, Jan introduced three young men who are taking their first post-school steps towards employment.

  • Cameron Zellner is the owner of Zellner Services, a microenterprise specialising in scanning, shredding and data entry
  • Jack Kruger is doing an Australian School-Based Apprenticeship (ASBA) in Business Administration at the University of Canberra
  • Gus Reichelt works as a Research Technician at the CSIRO

Each of these young men shared their story and introduced a video about their employment journey. These videos were created as part of Imagine More’s work for the NDIS Economic Participation ILC Grant.

Resources from Session 1

Meet the Presenters

Jan Kruger, Executive Director of Imagine More

Read Jan’s biography here.

Jack Kruger, Administrative Assistant

Jack Kruger shaking hands with a coworkerJack is a year 12 student at the local Catholic college. He is currently doing a School-Based Apprenticeship as an Office Admin Assistant. With the support of his family, Jack self-manages SLES (School Leavers Employment Support) funding through the NDIS. This has enabled him to directly employ his job coach.

Jack has a Circle of Support that has been instrumental in supporting Jack to realise his goal of finding meaningful work while still at school, just like his friends. Jack is looking forward to life after school, continuing to work at the University of Canberra as well as looking for other work roles.

Cameron Zellner, Owner of Zellner Services

Cameron holding up slides in his microenterprise, Zellner ServicesCameron Gerhard Zellner is a graduate of Black Mountain School. He recently completed a 12-month part-time contract at FoodLovers as an assistant chef. Cameron also enjoys cooking at home and is an enthusiastic dinner party host. Cameron is a competitive para-rower and passionate photographer.

Cameron is excited about setting up his own microenterprise, Zellner Services, which specialises in scanning 35mm slides, photos and other documents. He will also crosscut shred unwanted papers, discs and credit cards to confidential standard. He is a friendly young man with a positive attitude who enjoys helping people.

Karen Caldwell

Karen CaldwellKaren Louise Caldwell has an applied science degree and worked in materials conservation specialising in book and paper conservation for ten years. She is married to Markus Zellner and has two adult sons, Aidan and Cameron. Cameron lives with a complex disability.

Karen managed Cameron’s home education program (Applied Behavioural Analysis) for ten years. She is a partner of a micro-business, Stretchability, which runs classes teaching adults how to stretch safely and efficiently. Karen self manages Cameron’s NDIS plan and is involved with Cameron’s Circle of Support, who walk alongside Cameron and help him build his good life.

Gus Reichelt

A young man with Down syndrome wearing a lab coat and working in a labIt’s been a busy time for 19-year-old Gus Reichelt since finishing his Year 12 Certificate in 2018. In March 2019 he started working at the CSIRO as a Research Technician. It’s an important role which involves maintaining stocks of sterile glassware for use by research scientists, and other tasks critical to the compliance and safe operations of the lab. He works five mornings a week and is paid award wages.

Gus is supported by a team of carefully-selected Mentors who help him work towards his goal of moving into a home of his own. Gus has been an NDIS participant since 2015.