WDEA Works Supported Employment provides more than a job for ‘Damo’
According to WDEA Works Supported Employment staffer, Damien O’Sullivan, his dream-mowing job is America’s world-famous Augusta Golf Course, and with his excellent record of accomplishment, anything is possible! 31-year-old Damien began with WDEA Works’ Warrnambool enterprise business, ClearCut in 2012 and has seen his skill-set expand exponentially. He grew up helping out on the family farm – dividing hay bales, loading trucks, and general farm work gave him a good skill base. WDEA Works was able to match him to a role to suit his love of working outdoors.
Over the last six years, Damien has learned many of the skills required for ClearCut lawmowing and garden maintenance – weeding, brush-cutting, leaf-blowing, edging, hand mowing and operation of a ride-on mower. Some bits have been more difficult than others – Damien says that navigating slopes on the ride-on mower has been particularly challenging.
Every skill gained has been a feather in Damien’s cap – but it’s not just the nuts and bolts of working that’s changed his life. Meeting and interacting with new people is a daily highlight. Damien credits Gary Hetherington from Clear Cut for a cheerful workplace.
‘Gary (old Chook) has helped me do other things,’ says Damien with a laugh.
‘Mower blade changes, (and) he makes work light hearted. Work should not have to be serious at all times.’
And it’s not only fellow ClearCut staffers – Damien has also struck up friendships with people from the wider community, like Alisha from the local milk bar.
‘She’s made me many a coffee!’ he says.
Damien pursues a range of other activities outside of his WDEA Works job, although some of them cross-over- like his music. He says one of his roles at WDEA Works is resident musician.
‘I had piano lessons when I was really young but was no good at it. In 2001 John, a teacher from school taught me the guitar.’ He says.
Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters keep Damien rocking along, but he reckons he’d choose another profession if he wasn’t gardening.
‘It definitely wouldn’t be sky diving! Maybe a comedian!’ he says.
WDEA Works also linked Damien in with his local footy club, Russell’s Creek Football Netball Club. Damien volunteers at the club as a runner, and he’s also part of the social fabric of the club. He says the social interaction is his favourite part ‘by far.’
‘Plenty of time we are being belted and I’m running the water and all I can think about is the silly function I am going to tonight,’ he says.
Jacob Linford is one of Damien’s favourite people at the club. ‘He helps me get to games,’ Damien says. ‘And he’s just a good fella.’
Damien has not finished adding to his resumé yet- he’s keen to triumph over the hedge-trimmer, and learn to drive, though preferably not at the same time. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll see Damien on stage as a comedian!
Photo: Damien participating with his fellow WDEA Works mates at the Tower Hill Challenge