Scott wanted paid work but because he had an intellectual disability, applying for jobs online as part of a competitive interviewing process didn’t work well for him. 
He had been told by Disability Services that the best place for him to work would be a segregated workshop with low wages and no chance of career advancement.
Scott, his family and the people who knew him well, felt he could do better than this, so they reached out to Belonging Matters.  The people at Belonging Matters took the time to understand Scott, as a person.  They crafted a work profile based on his strengths, talents and preferred working environments.
On seeing Scott’s profile, one of the people at Belonging Matters network advised that there was a business that was looking for these skills.  As a result, Scott was able to secure a job offering 10 hours work a week at a printing company where he became a valuable and much-loved part of the team. Scott’s self-esteem rose and he became a more independent person and was able to contribute to his workplace and society.
And how did Belonging Matters and Rotary become involved?
In 2001, a Rotarian in Alberta Canada reached out to an organisation, Inclusion Alberta, to help find employment for her son who had an intellectual disability. From those small beginnings a partnership was formed between Rotary Alberta (Districts 5370 and 5360) and Inclusion Alberta; The Rotary Employment Partnership which is recognised internationally. Over the intervening twenty-year period, it has generated over 600 “Scott” stories in both small and large businesses.
In 2011 and 2016, Belonging Matters invited a representative of Inclusion Alberta to speak at their conference in Melbourne and were so inspired they decided to bring the model to Australia. In 2019, Belonging Matters and the University of Melbourne received a 12- month grant to explore and adapt the Inclusion Alberta Rotary Partnership model in the Australian context.
The study identified that there were considerable benefits to the employer, including:
  • Fewer accidents at work – lower workers compensation costs
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Lower hiring costs
  • Building of staff morale
  • Increased customer and staff loyalty
  • in the areas of performance, productivity and sales, there were no significant differences when comparing people with a disability to people without disability.
The Alberta initiative is successful due to its partnership with Rotary. People often find paid employment through their formal and informal networks. Unfortunately, people with an intellectual disability often don’t have strong networks. This is where Rotary comes to the fore. During 2021 Belonging Matters connected with Rotary Central Melbourne and as a result District 9800 and Belonging Matters has formed a steering committee to expand this initiative.
If you would like to find out more or would like someone from Belonging Matters to talk at your club, please contact Patricia Wilson on or 0432 189 323.