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Bedford is partnering with the iconic Australian brand, R.M. Williams in a landmark new trial to train and transition supported employees into the open employment market.

The R.M. Williams job trial initiative provides the opportunity for participants to experience open employment and build skills in a new work environment. Trial participants earn a full award wage and have specialist on-the-job coaching. Importantly, if trial participants discover that the new work opportunity is not suitable for them, the door is always open for them to return to Bedford.

The trial is part of Bedford’s commitment to create more choice for people with disability. The first two successful trial participants, Nick and Hahn, commenced the trial in June 2023, bringing their transferrable production skills acquired at Bedford’s Gepps Cross site to the Clicking Room at R.M. Williams’ Salisbury operation, where leather linings are cut to precision.

During the trial, they were supported by Bedford’s on-the-job coach Paul Cienciala, pictured with trial participant Nick above. When asked about the trial, Paul says “It’s a brilliant opportunity for Bedford employees who want to take their next step into open employment. Both Nick and Hahn have applied themselves to this outstanding opportunity and the outcome has been great for all.”

“These job trials are a great pathway to becoming an independent employee in an open employment setting.”

— Paul Cienciala - Job Coach

The trial demonstrates that Bedford has a role to play in responding to workforce shortages. Bedford CEO, Myron Mann comments “We recognise that South Australian businesses are looking to access loyal, skilled workers, which Bedford has. We encourage any businesses to get in touch with us to discuss their workforce needs.”

The R.M. Williams trial has been a runaway success and both Nick and Hahn have accepted permanent roles to continue in open employment with R.M. Williams. Congratulations Nick and Hahn!

Nick and Hahn pictured in front of an R.M. Williams billboard

Introducing Nick

Prior to commencing the trial at R.M. Williams, Nick worked with Bedford Gepps Cross for nine years, in the contract cutting area.

Nick applied for the R.M. Williams trial because he wanted to take the next step in his career, into open employment, and saw it as a great opportunity.

“I’m most looking forward to trying a new job, meeting new people and experiencing a different work environment. It’s a great opportunity for me to learn some new skills”, Nick says.

Nick became engaged to be married earlier this year and loves spending time with his partner and family. We wish you all the very best in the future, Nick!

Introducing Hahn

Hahn worked at Bedford Gepps Cross for five years prior to the trial, building experience and skills across a number of different jobs, including pallet making, working in the kitchen and constructing custom crates.

“There was lots to learn with the complicated crate designs and I’ve really enjoyed it”, Hahn says.

Hahn describes his experience working at R.M. Williams as “very diverse, organised, team-oriented, and very safe”. He is thrilled to now have the opportunity to continue with this wonderful employer. When Hahn is not at work, he enjoys keeping up with news, current affairs and politics. We’re looking forward to keeping up with all the latest news on Hahn and his new role!