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Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Autism


Autism is a spectrum disorder that affects individuals differently, often enhancing specific skills and abilities. April, recognised as Autism Awareness Month, is an opportune time to discuss the unique skill sets of individuals with autism and the benefits they bring to the workplace.  To gain a deeper understanding of Autism and available supports click here

Unique Skill Sets

People with autism often possess unique skills that can be highly beneficial in various job roles. These may include:

  • Attention to Detail: Many individuals with autism excel in tasks requiring precision and meticulousness.
  • Strong Memory: They often have an exceptional ability to recall facts and details.
  • Systematic Thinking: Their ability to understand systems and patterns can be advantageous in fields like IT and data analysis.

Benefits of Employing Individuals with Autism

Employing individuals with autism is not just about providing opportunities; it also brings tangible benefits to businesses:

  • Diversity and Inclusion: It fosters a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • Unique Perspectives: It brings unique perspectives that can lead to innovative solutions.
  • Reliability: Individuals with autism are often highly reliable and punctual.

Support for Individuals with Autism

Various supports are available to assist individuals with autism in the workplace:

  • Job Coaches: They provide one-on-one training and support in the workplace.
  • Supported Employment Programs: These programs offer assistance with job searches and interviews.
  • Workplace Adjustments: Employers can adjust the work environment to help autistic individuals achieve their potential.

TURSA: Championing Employment for Individuals with Autism

TURSA, as a Job Services Provider, successfully supports employment for people living with autism. TURSA understands the unique challenges and strengths of individuals with autism and works closely with them to find suitable employment opportunities. TURSA also works closely with other community organisations, employers, and participants to ensure they have the tools, support, and modifications needed to achieve their goals.

Hiring Autistic Individuals: A Guide for Employers

So, you’ve read a little about the facts and benefits of hiring autistic people. Let’s delve into the practical steps to make this process successful. Whether your candidates are neurodiverse or not, setting them up for success is crucial.

Key Considerations

When hiring autistic or neurodiverse candidates, keep the following points in mind:

  1. Rethink the Interview Process: There may be better approaches than traditional interviews. Instead, focus on observing and assessing candidates based on their abilities within your organization or team. Look beyond scripted answers and consider their practical skills and potential contributions.
  2. Holistic People Processes: Consider the entire employee lifecycle, from hiring to onboarding. Ensure that your processes are inclusive and supportive. This includes adapting your career progression paths to accommodate diverse talents and strengths.
  3. Cultivate an Inclusive Culture:
    • Respect Differences: Embrace diversity by acknowledging and respecting individual differences. Autistic individuals bring unique perspectives and skills to the table.
    • Mentorship: Provide mentorship programs to support neurodivergent thinkers. Mentorship goes beyond career planning—it helps navigate workplace nuances and fosters a sense of belonging.  Speak with your Job Service Provide for more information.
    • Beyond Acceptance: Aim for more than mere acceptance. Create an environment where everyone feels they truly belong.

By implementing these strategies, you can contribute to a more inclusive workforce and provide equal opportunities for autistic individuals. Let’s work together to create a workplace where everyone thrives! 

Remember, every workplace can make a difference by adopting these changes, many of which are low-cost or cost-free1. Let’s empower autistic individuals and celebrate their unique abilities! 

Employing individuals with autism is a win-win situation. It provides opportunities for a marginalised group while bringing unique skills and perspectives to the workplace. With the proper support and understanding, individuals living with autism can thrive in the workplace.

Berrick Hardwick – Fresh and Frozen: A Journey into Work

Berrick Freshnfrozen Tursa

 Meet Berrick Hardwick

Berrick Hardwick, a ‘driving force’ at Fresh and Frozen, has a remarkable story of resilience and determination. After surviving a severe heart attack, Berrick found himself longing to return to work. His journey led him to TURSA, an approachable employment agency that would change his life.

The Turning Point

What brought you to TURSA?

Berrick explains, “I had been on Disability Employment Services (DES) for five years after my near-death experience. I was tired of sitting idle and wanted to get back to work. That’s when I was referred to TURSA at Coomera, and later, I moved to Beenleigh.”

Navigating the TURSA Process

Berrick found TURSA’s support invaluable. They helped him with paperwork and phone usage and provided expert guidance. “TURSA is probably the best agency I’ve ever worked with,” he says. “Their communication is excellent, and they genuinely care about their participants.”

From Business Owner to Courier Driver

Having owned his own business previously, Berrick was no stranger to hard work. However, due to health concerns, he needed to explore new avenues. “I considered driving buses,” he recalls. “But my heart condition made it challenging. Instead, I looked for courier or driver jobs.”

Unfortunately, a bus job near Hyperdome didn’t meet his expectations. “They wanted us to clean buses after hours without pay,” Berrick shares. “It wasn’t feasible. That’s when I turned to Frishta, my Disability Employment Advocate.”

A New Beginning

Frishta introduced Berrick to FreshnFrozen, where he found purpose and stability. “I work Monday to Friday, 9 to 12 hours a day,” he says. “The salary setup allows flexibility; some days, I finish earlier.”

Overcoming Challenges

Being out of work for an extended period took a toll on Berrick. “I struggled with anxiety and lost confidence,” he admits. “But thanks to TURSA’s support, I’ve improved. Dealing with clients is easier now.”

Words of Wisdom

When asked what advice he’d give a friend, Berrick doesn’t hesitate. “Just go and see TURSA,” he emphasises. “They understand, listen, and genuinely help. Unlike other agencies, TURSA doesn’t push you aside. They’re here for you.”

Berrick’s journey with TURSA and Fresh and Frozen exemplifies the power of resilience and community support. If you’re seeking employment assistance, take a page from Berrick’s book—visit TURSA and discover a path to meaningful work.

Berrick, His Wife, and the Journey of Resilience

A Car Accident and a Helping Hand

Berrick and his wife faced a life-altering car accident. In the aftermath, TURSA stepped in to provide support. His wife, who was also registered with TURSA, needed assistance. Frishta,  ensured they had access to transportation—whether Uber rides or other means—to help them navigate their challenges and maintain access to employment.

Bob’s Generosity

But the story doesn’t end there. Bob, Owner at Fresh and Frozen, went above and beyond. He lent Berrick one of his personal cars, ensuring that Berrick could continue his journey of employment. Bob’s generosity made a significant impact, allowing Berrick to regain independence and mobility.

A Remarkable Transformation

And then came an unexpected twist. Berrick’s wife, who had been legally blind, also found employment through TURSA. Today, she works full-time, defying the odds. Her vision has improved, and she can now see the world around her.

A Tale of Resilience

Berrick, his wife, and the entire support network—Frishta, Bob, and TURSA—have woven a tale of resilience, compassion, and determination. Their journey reminds us that sometimes, it takes a village to transform lives.

If you’re facing challenges, remember that allies are ready to walk alongside you. Visit TURSA, and let your journey begin.


Lionel’s Journey: From Casual Musician to Warehouse Worker

Lionel Tursa Employment & Training

Meet Lionel

Lionel, a talented keyboard player, has faced his share of challenges. His journey to meaningful employment took him through twists and turns, but it ultimately led him to TURSA, where he found a supportive community and a chance to make a difference.

The Prelude

Before joining TURSA, Lionel’s work history was unconventional. “I’ve played music,” he says, “and some might consider that a ‘real’ job. But I hadn’t held down consistent employment for a long time—maybe 15 to 20 years.”


The Turning Point

Enter TURSA. Lionel’s Disability Employment Advocate encouraged him to explore job opportunities. Initially hesitant, Lionel decided to give it a shot. “I didn’t think I’d succeed,” he admits. But when he landed a job, everything changed.

A Positive Impact

Working at Fresh and Frozen—both in the warehouse and as a delivery driver—proved transformative. “It’s been great for my mental health,” Lionel shares. “And it’s helped me feel more connected to the world.”

TURSA provided essential support, from petrol assistance to resume building. “They genuinely care,” Lionel emphasises. “They understand the challenges and provide practical solutions.”

Looking Back

Reflecting on his 12 months at Fresh and Frozen, Lionel wishes he’d started this journey 20 years ago. “I feel better,” he says. “More a part of the planet.”

Overcoming Obstacles

Lionel battled depression and anxiety before finding stability through work. “Keeping busy is essential,” he notes. “And there are plenty of resources out there.”

A Beacon of Understanding

TURSA’s approach resonated with Lionel. “They listen,” he explains. “They connect you with the right contacts. It’s about understanding and support.”

Lionel’s story underscores the power of perseverance and community. If you’re navigating your own path, take inspiration from Lionel—visit TURSA and discover how they can help you find your place in the world.

Frishta: Guiding the Journey

Meet Frishta

As a Disability Employment Advocate at TURSA, Frishta plays a pivotal role in the success stories of participants like Berrick and Lionel. Her dedication and understanding have made a lasting impact.

A Pleasure to Serve

Frishta reflects, “Working with Berrick and Lionel has been a pleasure. Each client brings a unique backstory, motivations, and expectations. Many have tried other service providers, and they arrive at TURSA with a mix of hope and scepticism.”


Frishta Disability Employment Advocate TURSA

Listening and Empowering

Frishta’s approach is simple yet powerful. “I listen,” she says. “I empower them to recognise their potential. There’s often resistance, but that’s part of the journey.”

Trial and Error

Navigating employment opportunities involves trial and error. “We send clients to job interviews, refer them to positions,” Frishta explains. “Sometimes it works seamlessly; other times, we adjust. With Berrick and Lionel, we’ve been by their side throughout.”

The Right Fit

Berrick faced medical clearance challenges for specific jobs. “We backed out,” Frishta recalls. “But we persisted. We won’t settle until we find the right fit.”

Beyond Placement

Frishta’s commitment extends beyond job placement. “We stay connected,” she emphasises. “Life gets busy, but we’re here—supporting, encouraging, and ensuring they thrive.”

A great employer makes all the difference

Understanding employers like Bob at FreshNFrozen play a pivotal role in fostering a positive work environment.

Bob’s commitment to his staff goes beyond the conventional employer-employee relationship. By providing his own personal vehicle to an employee in need, he demonstrates empathy and genuine concern. Such actions not only retain valuable team members but also create a sense of loyalty and trust.

Bob’s philosophy—that success hinges on understanding individual needs and aligning them with business goals—holds true. It’s not merely about the job service provider; it’s about the person behind it, someone who comprehends the intricacies of the business and ensures the right people are in place. Bob’s approach exemplifies effective leadership and underscores the importance of human connections in the workplace. 

Berrick, Frishta and Lionel at FreshnFrozen talking about employment goals and success

Words of Wisdom

For those seeking employment, Frishta offers advice: “Reach out. We understand. We’re here to help. TURSA isn’t just an agency; it’s a community.”

Beric, Lionel, and countless others owe their progress to advocates like Frishta and dedicated Disability Employment Advocates who work tirelessly to help them achieve their goals. If you’re on your own journey, remember: TURSA is ready to walk alongside you.

Adam Overcomes Challenges to Find Work with TURSA’s Help

Sunshine Coast Resident Empowered by TURSA‘s Support on Journey to Employment Maroochydore, July 31 –

Facing and Conquering

Adam, has faced and conquered the difficulties presented by his disabilities to find a fulfilling job. Thanks to the unwavering assistance from TURSA, a respected disabilities support provider in the area.

Adam’s job search was uncertain when he moved to the Sunshine Coast, fearing that his disabilities might limit his options. However, a fortunate encounter with a sign for TURSA changed his life’s direction. Curious about his possibilities, Adam registered with TURSA and met Paul and Carl. They became his mentors throughout his employment journey.

Job that suits

Adam’s main goal was to find a job that suited his abilities and allowed him to manage his injuries effectively. Paul and Carl worked closely with Adam. They assessed his capabilities, searched for suitable job hours, and placements that accommodated his unique circumstances.

Determination pays dividends

Although Adam explored various fields like boat building and aged care, his passion for caregiving was his goal. Unfortunately, balance issues caused by his injury prevented him from becoming a support worker. Determined to find the right fit, TURSA’s team continued searching.  Finally they found a general hand position at a well-known holiday resort in Noosa.

In his new role, Adam handles various tasks, from cleaning windows to maintaining gardens, and even leading the maintenance team. This opportunity gave him the freedom to work at his own pace while showing his dedication and hard work, earning praise from his employers.

Breaking job records

Even after more than a year of employment, Adam still receives encouragement from TURSA, showing their commitment to his journey. Adam’s triumphant return to the workforce is a personal achievement and a testament to his hard work and TURSA’s dedication to empowering individuals with disabilities. After a gap of five and a half years, Adam’s current job is the longest he’s held in two decades, demonstrating the impact of finding meaningful employment.

“I can work at my own pace. I put in hard work, and my employers are happy with me, I believe,” says Adam, expressing pride in his journey.

As an inspiring story of determination and resilience, Adam’s experience brings hope to others facing similar challenges. TURSA’s unwavering support and patient guidance have been crucial in Adam’s journey to triumph over adversity.

Adam offers heartfelt advice to others in a similar position:

“When you’re ready, go see the team at TURSA. They’ll help you find a good job.”

Adam’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of support, proving that with proper guidance and determination, individuals can overcome disabilities and create a brighter future.   If you need help navigating Disability Employment Services take the first step by reaching out to TURSA for friendly and helpful advice

Carlene is a woman who has faced many challenges in her life. She was working in construction on the North Coast of New South Wales when she had to leave her job due to domestic violence. She decided to move to Grafton and start anew but didn’t know where to start.

Turning to TURSA for support helped Carlene Shine with Success

That’s when she turned to TURSA, a local organisation that helps people gain skills, training and support to achieve their job goals. Clint, her employment advisor, enabled her to figure out what she wanted to do and how to achieve it.

Carlene knew she wanted to go back to construction, so she started doing more training and getting more tickets. TURSA helped her with most of her tickets, including confined spaces, elevated platforms, and traffic control.
With the help of TURSA, Carlene could apply for construction jobs, and she landed a job with Ahoy Traffic. She’s now working on the bypass in Grafton, doing traffic control, and looking to do ongoing traffic control. But her ultimate goal is to be in construction.


Completed the Steps to Work Program

Carlene also went through the Steps Course, a program offered by TURSA that helps people gain confidence and rebuild their self-esteem. Again, she found the course helpful, giving her the skills and support she needed to get to where she is now.

Carlene said about her experience, “I found it really helpful with my skills, with the support that was given to me. So I reached out to that support, and I found that it really helped me to get where I am now. It gave me confidence again in myself because I lost a lot of confidence in my self-esteem, which was falling away since I moved from Coraki; when I came to Grafton, re-engaged with TURSA, and when did the Steps program, it rebuilt my confidence back up and got me to where I am now.”

Gain the Skills & Confidence You Need!

Carlene's story is a testament to the importance of organisations like TURSA, which support people who need it the most. Through their work, they help people like Carlene gain the skills and confidence they need to achieve their goals and build a better life for themselves.

Creating An Inclusive Work Environment

Creating a more supportive and inclusive work environment for people with disabilities is essential for building a diverse and successful workplace. Below are some fundamental steps that companies can take to make their work environment more accommodating for people with disabilities.

Overall, creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment for people with disabilities requires a commitment from both leadership and employees. However, companies can create a workplace where everyone can thrive and succeed by taking these steps and enjoy the benefits.

5 Step Plan For An Inclusive Work Environment

  1. Educate employees about disability inclusion and awareness. Provide training on disability rights and etiquette and the benefits of a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  2. Make sure that your physical workspace is accessible. Ensuring entrances, restrooms, and common areas are accessible to individuals with mobility impairments. It also includes providing assistive technology for employees with visual or auditory impairments, such as screen readers or speech-to-text software.
  3. Provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Flexible scheduling, alternative work arrangements, or assistive technology will help. It’s essential to consult with the employee to determine what accommodations will be most helpful.
  4. Foster a culture of inclusion and support. Achieve this by promoting open and respectful communication and providing support and resources for employees with disabilities. It’s also important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of employees with disabilities.
  5. Review and update your policies and practices regularly. Disability inclusion and accommodations are ongoing processes. It’s essential to periodically review and update your policies and procedures to ensure that they are meeting the needs of your employees with disabilities.
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Where Everyone can Thrive

Overall, creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment for people with disabilities requires a commitment from both leadership and employees. However, companies can create a workplace where everyone can thrive and succeed by taking these steps.

sticky notes in a pile with top one saying uncover the benefits
Do the benefits outweigh the expense? Glad you asked!

Read on and find out not only how the benefits outweigh the expense but also how you can tap into physical and financial support to make your business inclusive and attractive to talented staff.

It Does!

Creating a disability-friendly workplace can have many benefits, both for the employees who have disabilities and for the organization as a whole. 

4 benefits of creating a disability-friendly workplace

  1. Improved morale and job satisfaction among employees with disabilities can lead to increased productivity and engagement.
  2. Greater diversity and inclusion within the workplace can foster a more inclusive and supportive work environment.
  3. Attract and retain talented employees with disabilities who may have valuable skills and perspectives to contribute to the organization.
  4. Build your reputation and credibility as an employer of choice, which can help the organization attract top talent and build strong relationships with customers and other stakeholders.

Of course, creating a disability-friendly workplace can also involve some expenses, such as implementing necessary accommodations and training for employees. However, the long-term benefits of creating a disability-friendly workplace often outweigh the initial costs.  

Contact us today to find out how TURSA can assist with wage subsidies and ongoing support for your business!

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Enjoy Life More Fully

“By creating workplace accessibility, we are not only removing barriers for individuals with disabilities, but we are also allowing them to fully participate in and enjoy life more fully.”

Tursa Employment & Training

Ben standing in front of Coles story about how he manages his disability

Living with Disability

Ben’s story is one of inspiration. He has dealt with anxiety and shyness in the past, but through hard work and dedication, he has been able to manage these challenges and make living with his disability easier to manage.

Finding the right employer was essential for Ben. He needed to find an organization that understood his strengths and can provide him with opportunities to grow.

Ben’s first two jobs involved food. Ben explained that he intensely disliked handling food from a very early age. Living with anxiety, Ben was working in a fast-food environment! Ben managed to stick to the role for 6 months but knew working in a fast-food customer service was not the right fit for him long term.

Mum Sue said, “Ben had tried numerous other support providers around town. He did not feel he was getting the support he needed. He decided to try TURSA and since meeting Kim, has not looked back.”


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Gaining Confidence

Since joining TURSA, Ben has found an enjoyable job that suits his skillset and interests. He works in a team environment where he feels supported by his managers. His favourite thing about his job is having a sense of control, and calm where he can work systematically. Ben said, “Because I need structure and order in my life, Coles is working out really well. I enjoy a role where I can be organised, paid regularly, and pay my bills. As a result, I feel far more relzed and in control of my life and how I spend my time.”


With the right support, Ben now is excelling in his role.


Ben found that TURSA not only provided him with the training he needed for work, but also the confidence to look for and move into a more suitable role. He is now working at Coles in Grafton as a night filler and says that he feels much more confident in his abilities. His goal is to provide the best night-filling work in-store.

Ben’s experience shows that TURSA can not only help with the technical aspects of finding a job, but also with the softer skills like building confidence. If you’re feeling stuck in your job search, remember that TURSA is here to help!


Are you looking for support to achieve your goals?

If like Ben, you are looking for a job that suits you contact us at TURSA we are here for you!


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