My Job Has changed My Life
My name is David Holowko and I am 26 years old. I was born with Down syndrome but I hate being told that I have a disability. I have lots of abilities, the same as everybody else! I like to be able to have choices and do the things that are important to me. I would like to get my driver’s licence so I can get to places easier. When I finish my studies I would like to do something to help others. When I find the right girlfriend, I might get married and move into a house of my own. I love playing my guitar especially at gigs and hope one day to write and perform my own songs. I love going out with friends and family. I work hard at improving my basketball skills so I can play the very best I can in the two teams I play for.
I don’t have any friends or many memories from my primary school years but I made lots of friends in secondary school, many of whom I still keep in contact with.
During year eleven I was able to get work experience at our local IGA supermarket at Templestowe, where I worked one day per week for 8 months. I enjoyed going to work instead of school, learning new things and best of all I loved talking with other workers and customers. I also had work experience at Waverley Industries and worked there, part-time for two years. I enjoyed working there and being with friends but the work was a little bit boring and the work place was a long way away.
My dad also arranged for me to start work experience at the Lower Templestowe Woolworths store when I finished school in 2008. I loved working there straight away and I already knew how to do some of the jobs from working at IGA. Working at Woolworths was challenging but, my boss and a support worker from an employment agency helped me to learn all the new tasks I had to do. Over the next seven years I learnt how to do most of the different jobs in the store such as stacking shelves, cabbing, bringing in trolleys of produce from the back store, working up a ladder, date monitoring, cleaning, display and customer service. The job I love best is working with the ‘Fresh Food’ team in the produce area. It is lots of fun as well as really hard work. Recently I have been given an extra responsibility to help train new people coming in for work experience. I have to show them the right way of doing different things and how to help customers.
One of my highlights was when Belonging Matters made a film clip of me working at Woolworths. The reason for making the film clip was to inspire businesses and other people with a disability to try and get a real job. It shows what is possible if you work hard and give it a go!
I was proud when the film showed me getting a special ‘Staff Award’. I got the Staff Award because customers have been coming up to the front counter to report how pleased they were with the way I had helped them. I often get nice comments from customers about how polite and helpful I am in the store.
I love working at Woolworths, Lower Templestowe with my workmates. It is a very important job because I help my fellow workers get the job done and I help customers find what they want. I feel that I am supported and valued at Woolworths.
I have also been promoted from being a casual employee, only working three hour shifts twice per week in the beginning to being a permanent part-time employee working 14 hours over three days. Because I’m a good worker, I sometimes get asked to do extra hours when things get busy or when other workers are sick.
One of the best parts of work, apart from being paid, is making friends with the people I work with.We have lunch together, go out for a coffee, catch up at the gym and discuss things we will do on the weekend. I like it when workers and customers stop to say “Hi” or have a chat when they see me down the street, at the Pines or at Shoppingtown.
My job at Woolworths has changed my life!