From greeter to checkout operator, South Lake teen embracing responsibility of his first job

Ben Smith

CADEN Sharp probably did not expect his first job to go so well, but he has embraced the extra responsibility it has provided him with.

The 19-year-old is loving life after securing a part-time role with Coles in South Lake at the start of this year, following a successful work placement with them.

Mr Sharp lives with autism and secured a work placement with his local supermarket after working with BizLink to find employment options, having not previously held any permanent positions prior to his current role.

He initially started off as a greeter near the supermarket’s entrance, before he was rewarded with a promotion and now has a permanent position on the checkouts.

Caden’s mother Sarah said she had noticed her son’s self-confidence skyrocket with the added responsibility and she had seen a whole new side to him.

“It gave him confidence in himself and his ability to learn and grow and in his own personal value,” she said.

“He’s become a lot more confident and it was funny because he was never nervous or anxious or anything like that before.

“But I actually saw him a few times display anxiety because he wanted to do a good job, which is great because he was he was driven by a goal.”

Ms Sharp said Coles had been incredibly accommodating and very supportive in giving Caden a position to best excel.

Her son said he really enjoyed working in the store and he had been made to feel welcome and comfortable from day one.

“It’s made me a bit busier, which is good. I really do enjoy it, the staff are very good. It’s a very good store and I would recommend working here,” Mr Sharp said.

Having witnessed her son grow more confident as a result of his employment, Ms Sharp urged other businesses to employ more people living with a disability and embrace the diversity they brought to the workplace.

“I do think it’s really important that big employers and companies like Coles undertake their social responsibility and support all sectors of the community and have that diversity in their employment choices,” she said.

“Employing kids like Caden and taking the time to train them and do that is an essential move and I’d like to see a lot more big companies doing that.”