THERE are often assumptions made about the perceived limitations those living with autism have, and there is no greater example of someone who challenges those misconceptions than that of Matthew Barnard.
Matthew has been volunteering with the Atherton Show Society for the past year, and in doing so has become an integral member of the team.
Matthew’s dedication to volunteering for the not-for-profit organisation has been rewarded as the Atherton Show Society recently offered him gainful employment.
Atherton Show Society Event Coordinator Kylie Lang said since volunteering with the organisation, Matthew has been an asset in the office completing small tasks that would usually be put to the side and completed when staff had time.
“Some of these tasks may not be completed until just before the show which is quite a hectic time for us; however by having those tasks completed (by Matthew) weeks before reduced the stress on staff and other volunteers, allowing then to focus on other areas,” she said.
Matthew’s official job title is Assistant to the Events Manager, where he will be working in the office completing tasks such as copying, shredding and preparing items for the next show as well as working around the grounds completing small maintenance jobs.
“David Plume, a long standing volunteer of the Show Society as well as the Tolga Historical Society and Museum, has been showing Matthew the ropes around the grounds and facilities in which the society maintain throughout the year,” Ms Lang said.
“David has kindly given up his time every Tuesday and Friday to make sure the facilities are ready for show.
“Matthew will also be undertaking training such as basic computer skills.”
Matthew has not only brought a valuable skill-set to the Atherton Show Society, as his infectious personality and eagerness to learn being other attributes that have made him so employable.
“Matthew is a very down to earth and funny guy who brings a lot of laughter to the office,” Ms Lang said.
“He is open to learn anything, do anything and help where ever possible, and has been one of the most reliable people I have worked with and I am excited to be able to help him on his journey in the workforce.
“He is dedicated and committed to doing any task set as efficiently and to the best of his ability – what more could someone ask for in an employee and volunteer.”
Ms Lang said by employing Matthew, the society hopes that he learns skills needed to further his employment opportunities, give him a sense of self-worth and that feeling of accomplishment that a lot of people take for granted.
“We hope that others will see just how valuable a person can be regardless of their background,” she said.
“If a not-for profit-organisation like us can offer someone these opportunities, we hope others can too.”