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alcoa point henry wins 2011 national disability awards – business award

Alcoa Point Henry has won the 2011 National Disability Awards - Business Award, recognising the organisation’s long term partnership with Karingal. Karingal’s Kommercial branch works with Alcoa to improve access to meaningful work and training for people with a disability.

The Alcoa-Karingal partnership represents an evolution in the process to create employment opportunities in an industrial manufacturing setting.

The National Disability Awards are part of the Australian Government’s celebration of International Day of People with a Disability, held on 3 December. The annual awards celebrate and acknowledge the achievements and contributions individuals or groups with a disability make to our community. The awards also recognise individuals or groups within our community who have contributed to the disability sector.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan and Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin presented the awards at a gala dinner at Parliament House last month. Over 400 individuals and organisations were nominated across seven award categories, only 21 of which reached the finals.

Point Henry was nominated as a contender for its ongoing partnership with Karingal, a not-for-profit organisation that manages residential, respite, home-based and day programs for people with disabilities and their families. Karingal also operates an employment services division,
including supported, disability and open employment services in Geelong, Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Through this partnership, 30 people with disability are employed on-site at Alcoa Point Henry. The partnership has continued to expand each year since its establishment in 1993 and today Karingal supported employees manage the site’s mail service, land and gardening care, administrative support and the day-to-day running of the employee canteen - the Kommercial Café. In addition Point Henry employees frequently volunteer their time to complete valuable
community projects through Karingal’s BacLinks branch.

Alcoa Point Henry Smelter Operations Manager Stewart Esdale expressed his thanks: “We feel humbled in the company of so many wonderful people and organisations nominated for these important awards.

“It is an honour to be part of the process that ensures our colleagues with disabilities have every opportunity to experience a positive work life, and we could not have done it without our partners, Karingal’s Kommercial branch,” said Stewart.
Karingal’s Chief Executive Officer, Daryl Starkey said that their partnership with Alcoa Point Henry has enabled people with disabilities to participate in their communities in ways in which all citizens should be able to.

“For our supported employees, to be able to work at Alcoa allows them to achieve the social and economic benefits of participating in the workforce and they are performing work which is valued and which they love doing,” said Daryl.

“One of Karingal’s strategic goals is to ‘improve equality of opportunity for people with disabilities’. Alcoa is assisting us to achieve this goal by providing opportunities for our supported employees to go to work alongside Alcoa’s employees and be treated as equal members of
Alcoa’s workforce.

“Kommercial’s supported employees take great pride in working at the café, enclave or land care at Alcoa - they are very sought after positions amongst the Kommercial team.

“We believe that Alcoa is a much deserved winner for the social outcomes and inclusion that our partnership has provided to both Karingal and Alcoa employees.

“Thanks to everyone at Alcoa for participating in and supporting this partnership over many years and for helping Karingal to improve the equality of opportunity for people with disabilities.”

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