By valuing the ways people living with disability engage in our communities, we can help to create a more inclusive, respectful and celebratory culture for people of all abilities.
Sandra is a supported employee who works at OC Connections Enterprises (OCCE) in the skin pack area. Sandra is also a team leader in the canteen at OCCE, where she prepares tea and coffee and heats lunches for her fellow employees.
Sandra joined the OC Connections’ Participant Reference Group (PRG) as a committee member in 2019, when it was first established. During her time, she has become more aware of the processes in place at OC Connections to support people with disability and confident in being part of the decision making process. We interviewed Sandra to find out more about her experience.
What does being a member of the Participant Reference Group mean for you?
I find it interesting to see how the other side of the business works, how the board operates and provides a further outlook on OC Connections as a whole. We also learn about new jobs that are coming in and how they are going to work, it’s very interesting.
The Participant Reference Group takes input and provides feedback from the other OC Connections’ subcommittees. Why is this important?
It is important for the committees to connect with each other and to understand what each area of the business is doing.
What does it mean to you and the Participant Reference Group to have a board member attend the meeting?’
It’s very interesting to have a board member there, I am learning a lot about the board and how they operate. If we have questions, we ask the board member directly and they answer them straight away. They also ask us questions too and we always have an answer for them, it’s good that way. I feel that the board members get to learn more about us because of the PRG.
What positive changes has the Participant Reference Group been a part of?
Since sharing what we need at the meetings we have seen improvements to the machinery at OC Connections Enterprise (OCCE). I have also noticed that the supervisors are more connected with us now and the staff are more connected. I have seen the OCCE facilities grow and change in a positive way, for me and the way we now work is perfect.
How is the information provided to you at these committee meetings?
The information sharing is good, we express what we need in the meeting, and the other committees tell us what they need. I would like to learn more about the other committees. We hope one day that we can go and have a look at how everyone else operates and what they do on a day-to-day basis.
What do you want to find out more about from the PRG Group?
I would like to learn about the Day Support Committee. I think it would be good for us to physically see firsthand what they get up to. Connecting directly with the other subcommittees would be a good learning experience.
Any other thoughts you would like to share about the PRG Committee?
I enjoy having Tricia (Malowney OAM) chair the meetings, things seem to run smoothly with her presence.
We have a place to be able to share our thoughts and feedback directly to OC Connections. We have also seen that what we do share with them, OC Connections takes actions and provide us with what we need.
Read more about OC Connections’ Participant Reference Group by clicking the link.