Visit our Parramatta office, and you're bound to be warmly greeted.

Ventia's NSW Schools contract employs more than 1,600 people to clean schools, TAFEs and government agencies across the Hunter Central Coast and Western Sydney region. The contract's headquarters are in Parramatta, in the same office that Ventia operates a 24/7 National Contact Centre that employs over 250 agents, the Housing contract and several shared services teams. The busy Parramatta office needed someone to assist with meeting and greeting visitors on arrival.

Enter the role of Welcomer.

Ventia's inclusion and diversity framework recognises the value people with distinct experiences, talents and cultures bring to the workplace. We believe creating an inclusive workplace is central to building a high-performing business. We saw the role of Welcomer as a meaningful and sustainable employment opportunity for someone with a disability. The main requirements of the role are the ability to follow a routine, good time management, dedication and a warm, welcoming demeanour, which we felt suited candidates with Down syndrome.

Employer Recruitment Assistance (ERA) is a professional employment program developed by Down Syndrome NSW (DSNSW) to help with the individual support needs of employing a person with Down syndrome. We worked with DSNSW to create a job ad in Easy Read that would encourage candidates with Down syndrome to apply. DSNSW advertised the role through their network of members and provided advice on the best way to conduct the interviews.

We were so impressed by the calibre of applicants that we hired two new Welcomers: Amrita Ramjas and Rebecca Teale.

Amrita and Rebecca work part-time, in alternating shifts. In addition to greeting visitors, they take delivery of parcels, distribute incoming mail, restock printers, create ID cards, collate recruitment packs and keep meeting rooms and kitchens clean and tidy.

Ventia's Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Jodie Cranfield, said Amrita and Rebecca bring joy to the office. "It's wonderful to walk into our office every morning and be cheerfully greeted by them," Jodie said. "They are both dedicated and hardworking employees; a delightful addition to the Parramatta team.

Now that Amrita and Rebecca have settled into their roles, Jodie is working with them to develop additional skillsets to meet other business requirements. "Both girls are keen to learn new skills, so I'm teaching them to touch type," Jodie said.

Amrita and Rebecca are also given opportunities outside the Parramatta office. Earlier this year, Rebecca represented Ventia at the NAIDOC barbeque at Doonside Public School. Rebecca said: "It was great to get out of the office with my work friends and cook a BBQ for the children and teachers."

Amrita has been asked to be a guest speaker at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Youth Services' Career Lab, where she will share her inspirational career story with young people aged 15-18 years who are facing impairment. "My goal is to give back to the world by sharing my experience working at Broadspectrum," Amrita said. "This workplace really suits me, and I enjoy learning new skills. I always want to come back to work the next day."

Down Syndrome NSW has continued to provide Ventia with mentoring and training support. We are currently working with DSNSW on a pilot program aimed at employing people with Down Syndrome to work in our Whole of Government cleaning contract.