Jye Patzold's greatest dream is to travel to the US one day, visit its amusement parks, and ride the "biggest, fastest, scariest" rollercoasters.
He's saving up for this through his work with the Wollongong-based disability service Greenacres, which this month celebrates its 70th birthday.
Mr Patzold started with the organisation in 2011 and said his main job at Greenacres Enterprises now was in packaging, but outside of work, he liked to unwind by playing Nintendo Switch.
Another supported employee is Brett Connolly, who has racked up just over 15 years with Greenacres.
"I'm an all-round factory worker - I can do basically anything and everything," Mr Connolly said.
He started out making industrial lighting, he said, and had since done many and varied jobs including manufacturing body bags and assembling fishing rods; he had also worked in open employment with other businesses.
"I got my forklife licence through Greenacres," Mr Connolly said.
He said Greenacres provided the kind of family environment he liked to work in.
Mr Connolly even met his partner Chris at Greenacres 12 years ago.
"I've got a lot of life friends here... I call them my sisters and brothers," he said.
He described the workplace as having a "very positive atmosphere".
"I never was treated nicely anywhere else as I am here. I feel like I can come to work and I feel safe," Mr Connolly said.
Mr Patzold and Mr Connolly are among about 200 supported workers employed with Greenacres' social enterprises.
The organisation also provides social and recreational activities, art therapy, mini-breaks and other services for people with disability.
This marks an evolution from the organisation's beginnings as a school in Mercury Street for children with disability, which chief executive officer Chris Christodoulou said was in itself a "significant win" because it marked government recognition of a whole cohort of children who to that point were not in school.
Ten years after the school was established, Greenacres officially opened what was then known as a sheltered workshop for people with disability.
Mr Christodoulou said these sheltered workshops, however, were not regarded as employment and organisations like Greenacres were at the forefront of supporting changes like the Disability Services Act in 1986.
This legislation emphasised the importance of "increased independence, employment opportunities and integration in the community" for people with disability.
Greenacres' first enterprise agreement was formed in 2004 with the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union to establish a wages system and protect workers' rights.
In more recent years Greenacres was among the disability enterprises who fought proposed wage reform they said would endanger the jobs of people with disability, and won.
Mr Christodoulou said this had again established that people with disability have the right to work.
He said the organisation also advocated for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which he was was one of the most significant measures that had helped people with disability by putting them in control.
Greenacres recently won the 2023 awards for outstanding community organisation in the Illawarra Business Awards, and was highly commended in the business of the year category; Mr Christodoulou was also highly commended for outstanding business leader.
He said the award win was a statement about the professionalism and commitment of the organisation's staff.
"I think it actually establishes the fact we provide such a wide range of meaningful opportunities to people with disabilities," Mr Christodoulou said.
The organisation marked its 70th birthday with cake and visits from local MPs Paul Scully, Ryan Park, Alison Byrnes and Stephen Jones.
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