Simon’s people skills soar in Kmart job

Simon’s unwavering commitment to personal and professional development has paid off, earning him a job at Kmart and the admiration of his co-workers.

Since starting at his local store in 2019, Simon, who is on the autism spectrum, has noticed a big improvement in his communication skills and comfort when dealing with customers.

“I’ve become more confident when talking to people as it isn’t just the people I already know from in the local area.”

Simon’s increased confidence has also opened up new opportunities in his social life. He now enjoys playing basketball and joins other like-minded peers to play Dungeons and Dragons and other games.

After leaving school, finding suitable paid work was made difficult by challenges Simon can experience in busy environments and interacting with others.

“I had been looking for paid work for more than two years after I finished school,” he shared.

When he heard about a job opportunity at the Noarlunga Kmart from the team at MatchWorks, Simon was keen to apply and to draw on what he had learned in a volunteer role at a Salvos store.

“It was something I knew about since I did retail work,” he explained.

After successfully securing a position, Simon focussed on mastering new aspects of his role. This includes tasks that demand high levels of social engagement, including working in the fast-paced checkout area.

“At the moment I’m trying to learn more about stuff within Kmart, so I’m able to do more around the store,” he shared.

Simon and his managers at Kmart receive ongoing support from MatchWorks Disability Employment Services (DES), to ensure he continues to succeed and thrive in his role.

“Simon first joined us as a client in 2018, and since then we’ve witnessed a real transformation. His whole demeanour has changed, and he has become a lot more self-assured and confident,” said MatchWorks’ Emily Markham.

“It’s wonderful to see him doing so well. When I see him at work he is always polite, attentive and careful.”

Simon shared that support from the MatchWorks team has helped him to overcome challenges along the way, “by being a support system I can rely on, and helping me with getting to work,” he said.

He encourages other neurodivergent job seekers who face similar barriers in their career path to “keep going at it and to be persistent”.

MatchWorks Disability Employment Services (DES) connects eligible people living with Autism to employment opportunities with supportive and inclusive employers. Learn more.