Mandurah residents with autism face many hurdles to find a job

Claire Sadler

"It was a half hour bus to the station, a 15 minute train to Rockingham, a half hour bus to Kwinana bus port, and then another hour bus out to the Rockingham, Fremantle Naval Yard then there was a half hour walk from there."

Those are the words from Alex Hutt, explaining his over two hour journey just to get to his previous unpaid work experience.

With a passion to work like no other, and multiple qualifications in hospitality and IT, Alex seems like a perfect candidate for all different types of work.

But for people with autism like him, one of the biggest challenges is finding a job.

"I don't even want to think about how many jobs I've applied for," he said.

"I hand out resumes at least once a week so it's definitely in the hundreds by now."

Over the last two years, he has applied for countless jobs and worked temporary stints. But he has not been able to find a steady job.

Places aren't inclusive of people with disabilities and mental health challenges, which makes it really hard.

Able Life owner Richelle Bylund

"I have had some interviews here and there but apart from that I haven't heard anything back from anywhere," Alex said.

"At the moment it's a little frustrating but I just keep applying and keep going because I will get a job eventually.

"Keeping a job is the hard thing at the moment - at this point I will take anything that can pay me."

Despite getting knock back after knock back, Alex has maintained a positive attitude.

 Claire Sadler.

 Support Service Solutions owner Jordan Sanger, Alex Hutt, and Able Life owner Richelle Bylund. Photo: Claire Sadler.

But Able Life owner Richelle Bylund, who helps people with disabilities find employment, was disappointed someone as dedicated as Alex couldn't find a job due to his autism.

"Places aren't inclusive of people with disabilities and mental health challenges, which makes it really hard," she said.

"I've known Alex for quite a while and he's always been really willing to throw himself out there and give anything a go to learn and upskill.

"I'm finding in Mandurah there's a real lack of businesses willing to even let them volunteer or do work experience."

Support Service Solutions owner Jordan Sanger also said he wished workplaces would be more understanding of people with disabilities and mental health issues.

"The stigma stops them from getting a job sometimes," he said.

"In Mandurah there are many people with disabilities so you would think workplaces would be a bit more understanding."

Ms Byland added that the lack of education in workplaces around hiring people with disabilities was really impacting people with disabilities.

"I think the lack of education and support at workplaces is really affecting Alex," she said.

"It's not all on the employer to have that one to one coaching throughout with someone with a disability or mental health challenge.

"We can send a support worker to help someone learn how to do that job and when they're confident the support worker will step back."

To learn more about disability employment support services visit, Able Life.

from Mandurah residents with autism face many hurdles to find a job | Mandurah Mail | Mandurah, WA