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STEPS Group Australia is passionate about making a difference by providing individuals and communities across Australia the opportunity to shine







Get the most out of your NDIS STEPS provide NDIS support that helps you live every day the way you choose

Get in touch for our full range of NDIS services and support options

Call us on

1300 766 962 Help you identify, plan and coordinate services that suit your needs Deliver and connect you to a range of recreational and social activities School leaver employment support (SLES)




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s s e s fi n d t

Assist in behaviour management planning and ASD specialist support

Why study with us? Our course provides:


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Training and support for families and carers

Kick start your career in care and get qualified in 13 weeks with a CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community)

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Skills to meet local industry needs


Work experience placement

We’ll work with you to understand your business, team, culture and goals We match the strengths and abilities of prospective employees with the needs of your business We’ll help you access financial incentives to reduce your employment costs


Do you want a career in care?



Need Staff? Ask Steps

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Provide assistance with everyday living

Contact our friendly and experienced team and take the first step towards finding your new team member.

Individualised training Up to 8 weeks of job search support

Speak to us today to find out if you’re eligible by calling 07 5436 6000 or visit www.stepsgroup.com.au/aged-care This training is delivered under the Queensland Government’s Certificate 3 Guarantee program.

1300 078 377


STEPS Employment Solutions provide services under the Australian Government’s Disability Employment Services initiative.

Helping young people with a disability gain a lifetime of independence Flexible learning for boarding and day students Specialised course with hands-on support On-campus living options in purpose-built units

Contact us to experience a free two-day trial of our Day Program.

Safe and supportive environment

5458 3000

Graduate ready for the real world

stepspathways.com.au pathways@stepsgroup.com.au



What a journey the last 30 years has been. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs, we’ve achieved big wins for our community along with times of disappointment as we remain true to our values whilst navigating the ever changing landscape not-for-profits often find themselves operating within.

Over the years we have partnered with industry and government, community organisations, local business, and individuals who have helped us to develop innovative programs, improve opportunities for our customers, and provide us with the support we needed to ignite real change.

What is undoubtable is the positive impact STEPS has been able to make on the Sunshine Coast community, and the contribution to the community by those who have worked for STEPS over the years, aligned to STEPS with a shared vision of creating opportunities for individuals to achieve their very best in life.

In celebrating STEPS’ 30 Year Anniversary we also celebrate our partners in the community who have walked beside us on this journey, we celebrate our many customers who have motivated us with their determination to achieve, to the many staff over the years who have served the community with passion and vigour, and to the Sunshine Coast community who have always supported STEPS’ vision.

I have always championed partnerships as key to providing a truly successful service, one that meets the real needs of the community, providing access and equality to information and education, employment, wellbeing, and importantly independence.

Carmel Crouch managing Director STEPS Group Australia

meet the managing Director.................................... 4-5 STEPS Pathways College An Australian First Initiative .................................... 6-7 BA murphy Constructions........................................... 8 STEPS Charity ...................................................... 10-11 STEPS Around Australia ...................................... 12-13 STEPS Autism Treehouse .................................... 14-15 STEPS Indigenous Programs .................................... 16 STEPS Employment Solutions............................. 17-18 STEPS Staffing Solutions.......................................... 19


Call 07 5458 3000 or visit www.stepsgroup.com.au

STEPS Education & Training .................................... 20 STEPS Community Services ................................ 21-22 STEPS Social Enterprises......................................... 23

FEATuRES SALES mANAGER: Jess Watson jessica.watson@scnews.com.au WRITERS: Annie Caughey and Sarah Dionysius The STEPS Group Australia 30 Year Anniversary feature is published by News Corp Australia - July, 2019. Those who make advertising placement and/or supply copy material or editorial submissions to the magazine undertake to ensure that all such material does not infringe the Trade Practices Act or other laws, regulations or statutes. Further to the above-mentioned, these persons agree to indemnify the publisher and/or its agents against any investigations, claims or judgements.



A MOthEr’s nEEd tO nAtiOn-WidE hOpE

host individuals with disabilities in both boarding and day programs aims to teach students real-life skills that will help them to live independently upon graduation. Carmel said learning to live independently helps those with disabilities achieve their goals in the real world, whilst also lifting pressure off the family unit. “Every parent who has a child with a disability talks about the same thing, which is, ‘what’s going to happen to my child when I’m not here anymore,” ms Crouch said. “It’s been very difficult for my son to learn to live independently and I recognise that it’s very difficult for any parent to teach their child with disabilities to live independently. He’s tried a number of times and hasn’t been able to manage to do that, and I watch other parents saying and doing the same things.

Carmel Crouch, Managing director of stEps Group Australia

It all began with a group of dedicated parents who were searching for something more than what was being offered to their children.

board had asked me if I’d come and sit in the position for six months until we found someone else. That six months turned into 10 years,” ms Crouch said.

“I knew there was a huge gap in the market that needed to be filled, so I started in my mind the idea for the disability college that we have built.

All these children had one or more disabilities, in many different forms and severities but despite their differences, they all shared one common goal; to be a part of the community.

“There were things that needed doing and I had some dreams that I wanted to see if I could fulfil, the Pathways College was really the reason for that.”

“I knew if we could get young people when they’ve left school before they become too dependent on living at home, if we could get them out of their homes and into a real life replicated living arrangement where we could teach them to live independently, I knew we would be successful.”

What started out as a group of parents leaning on each other for support has grown to be a nationwide notfor-profit organisation that helps to employ thousands of individuals with disabilities each month and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund various educational and support programs to help people with barriers to employment and independence. Within that initial group of parents stood Carmel Crouch a successful businesswoman and equal rights advocate. Her son matthew has a disability and after completing school, she found next to no support organisation that was able to help him find sustainable work.

Today, the organisation has branched out to also teach Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders English as well as migrants and humanitarian refugees in regional and remote communities. The STEPS social footprint has expanded to reach four states and one territory across Australia, hosting four different enterprises under the STEPS Group banner. However, despite this nationwide success and expediential growth, it’s a local STEPS' project that holds a particularly special place in Carmel’s heart. In 2016, in an Australian first the STEPS Pathway College opened in Caloundra. The facility designed to

“It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I’ve got the most amazing board of directors who were very supportive of the college dream and of course, we found two incredible young people, Ben and Amanda murphy from BA murphy Constructions who rallied the Sunshine Coast building industry and donated enormous amounts of their own time and money to build the two and a half-million-dollar college and allowed us to get started.”

“He left school at 15 and studied at TAFE for about 12 months but once he was out, I began looking for organisations that could assist him into finding an apprenticeship or a job of some sort and there wasn’t any. Which I was a bit surprised about,” ms Crouch said. “my personality type is one that says, ‘well if there’s nobody around to do it, we need to. “I found a bunch of people who had similar views and the conversation had already started about what sort of organisation we could be so I joined, and I think within the first six weeks I ended up being the chair of the organisation and I’ve been the chair ever since. “We started in maroochydore with a supported employment program. For us it was about finding jobs for our kids and then supporting them on the job while they were in open employment.” Still running her own family business whilst sitting in the unpaid position as chair, it wasn’t until 20 years later when Carmel officially became an employee of STEPS Group Australia. In 2009 after selling her business brokerage company she was readying herself for retirement and an audacious trip around the world, although, it seemed life had a different plan for her, a plan to change the lives of thousands. “The previous managing director had gone, and the 4


Cutting the cake at STEPS Pathways College inaugural graduation.

Earlier this year, The STEPS Pathways College held


its inaugural graduation, five students graduated that day able to begin the rest of their lives with confidence, skills and independence. It was a day that Carmel said was one of her proudest yet. “I guess the college is my proudest personal achievement.” As a passionate advocate for equality, Carmel’s commitment to serving the wider Australian community doesn’t end with her involvement in STEPS. For three years, she served as a member of the Executive Committee of Regional Development Australia, Sunshine Coast and has a seat on the Caloundra CBD Task Force. Carmel is also a representative for the Partners in Recovery Council for the Sunshine Coast and Gympie regions and this year, due to her commitment in social progression within the country, was chosen to represent Queensland as a nominee in Senior Australian of the year awards and as an Australia Day Ambassador. As the not-for-profit sector changes, community organisations like STEPS are very much more business-like in their practices to ensure they can sustainably grow to better benefit those they support. Carmel’s extensive set of commercial skills and business strategy knowledge matched with a giving heart and a passion for creating a better future for all individuals has made her an invaluable leader for STEPS Group Australia. “I’m incredibly proud of what this organisation stands for, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t be,” ms Crouch said.

Students at STEPS Pathways College.

“my personality type is one that says, ‘well if there’s nobody around to do it, we need to.” Carmel Crouch





0414 840 811






2/34-36 Claude Boyd Parade, Bells Creek QLD 4551



First dAy OF thE rEst OF thEir LivEs It was a day of tears, pride and pure joy, as members of the STEPS Pathways College community gathered to celebrate its inaugural graduation in which five independent students, all with different disabilities, were able to take the next steps of their lives. Students Tom Amerena, morgan mcCarthy, Kate Gadenne, Ariana Nioa and Joel Gerick all had a dream to one day live independently and on April 12, 2019, they achieved that dream. After participating in the STEPS Pathways College program, a love for AFL and aspirations to work in the IT

The initiative was the first of its kind in Australia to offer this type of intensive training

industry inspired Tom to make the move to melbourne. Ariana who originally was living with her mum in maryborough felt her life had now centred around the Caloundra community. So, the 25-year-old hopes to move in with classmate Alana at their own place in the future. Ariana is now loving her job working as an office administrator. Federal member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace was present on the day and said he was astounded by the achievements of Carmel, the team at STEPS Pathways College and most importantly the students.

L-R Stephanie Patey, Morgan McCarthy, Kate Gadenne, Ariana Nioa, Jason Keen and Tom Amerena.



The initiative was the first of its kind in Australia to offer this type of intensive training, but the graduation proved the program’s ability in helping these students to grow into confident and capable adults, now free to take their own individual pathways. With college expansions on the horizon, the hard work never stops but managing Director of STEPS Carmel Crouch said she is looking forward to watching many more students walk on stage to receive their graduation certificates because for her, that moment had been 30 years in the making.

PHOTO: Contributed

DID YOU kNOW STEPS PATHWAYS COLLEGE IS AVAILAbLE FOR DAY STUDENTS TOO? Whilst the boarding program has proven successful in helping young Australians with a disability to live independently, the STEPS Pathways College Day Program still offers the same nine core areas of education helping students to learn skills in communication skills, social skills, home living skills, healthy living skills, community connections, recreation skills, maintaining a tenancy, employment pathways, technology literacy & numeracy. Students in the day program have flexible learning options visiting the college from monday to Friday between 9am to 3pm. The day program allows them to remain living in the comfortable environment of home, whilst still gaining the opportunity to build life-long friends and skills to eventually live independently.

Ariana checks nutritional information while shopping.

stEps tO suCCEss For Ariana Nioa attending the STEPS Pathways College opened the door to a lifetime of opportunity. For the 25-year-old learning to live independently was her number one goal, so with the help of her mother Anne Nioa the two women were able to put this goal to paper, apply for the appropriate funding and before she knew it, Ariana was a part of the inaugural student cohort at STEPS Pathways College. mrs Nioa said she was thrilled that the Australian first initiative was there to support her daughter in achieving her dreams. “It’s just such a wonderful environment for them to live in, it’s liberating for them but it’s also very inclusive with the community outside of Caloundra. The community here has been amazing with their support of STEPS,” mrs Nioa said. During her time boarding at the college, Ariana thrived, learning skills to help her stay happy and healthy around the home whilst also learning how to get herself from A to B. “They have taught me great things. Like doing public transport, grocery shopping and also cleaning, and cooking, it is just amazing for me because I want to be independent out in the community and get a job,” Ariana said.

To organise a two-day trial at the STEPS Pathways College Day Program today or to find out more call 07 5458 3000.

“As part of our program students go out into the workforce and do a work placement...”

Day student Austin.

STEPS Pathways College Training manager Jason Keen said after her graduation, which was held earlier this year, Ariana is now capable to live and work in the real world completely independently. He said she has achieved tremendously in all areas of the college program. “As part of our program students go out into the workforce and do a work placement. Ari was able to get up in the morning, organise her clothes, get ready for the work day, catch a public bus by herself, get to work, come back home by herself. Her manager had nothing but praise and good things to say about Ari,” mr Keen said. “Watching these particular students’ progress has been absolutely amazing. When they started here they didn’t have the same level of confidence but now they are solving their own problems, making their own decisions they have a lot more control over their life decisions. They’ve done really well and we’re really proud of them.” After graduation Ariana is now working as an office administrator at the Caloundra RSL. CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF STEPS


pArtnErship buiLt On sOLid FOundAtiOns

“People probably don’t understand the depth of what they do and how far they go into things. The organisation is so important for our local community. Even STEPS Group Australia as a whole, the community focus work that they do, the disability support they offer and just helping families that need it. We need them.”

Ben & Amanda Murphy.

The relationship between Ben murphy and STEPS began on a beautiful Sunny Coast spring day in 2015 out on the Pelican Waters Golf Course. Ben murphy, formerly of murphy Homes and now co-founder of BA murphy Constructions found himself putting next to Stuart Coward, the Executive Officer of STEPS Group Australia. “It was a day out on the green, celebrating the Henzells Pelican Waters Charity Golf Day who STEPS happened to be the beneficiaries for. I met Stuart, who was trying to sell some bricks to raise some funds for the Pathways College and I got an understanding of the project,” mr murphy said. “I basically met with Stuart and Carmel the following monday to get a bit more of an understanding of it and from there we started getting the project built.” Since day one, the relationship between the murphy family and STEPS was about as concrete as it comes. Which only grew stronger as the partnership continued throughout the years. To get the college underway, the murphy family together with STEPS rallied the support of the community. Through the volunteer collaboration and donations of many generous Sunshine Coast businesses, suppliers and contractors the $1.6 million STEPS Pathways College was built.

organisation going above and beyond each year. “And they don’t do it for their name in shining lights or anything like that, they do it because they believe in our cause.” For Ben and Amanda, it’s true, it was never a matter of business. For them, it was purely a way of giving back to the community who in so many ways had already supported them. “We’re very focussed on social impact and creating a difference in our community and STEPS being a very community minded and focussed organisation obviously aligns pretty well with our core principles. So, it was an easy fit, it is an easy fit and it will continue to be an easy fit,” mr murphy said.

“They hand on heart have helped us to achieve this life-changing college that is the first of its kind in Australia.” STEPS Charity manager Angela Harrison

STEPS managing Director Carmel Crouch said the generosity and skill set offered by Ben and Amanda murphy was pivotal in making the STEPS Pathways College dream come alive. STEPS Charity manager Angela Harrison said they were the two most giving people on the Sunshine Coast, who lend a helping hand, not for recognition but because they genuinely care about helping the lives of those living with a disability. “They are probably the youngest couple on the Coast that have really, really come to the front in terms of giving. It really astounds me, and I know others have commented on how generous they are to the Sunshine Coast,” ms Harrison said. “They hand on heart have helped us to achieve this lifechanging college that is the first of its kind in Australia. “They have not only built the college, but they’ve continued to be the greatest supporters of our 8


Murphy House.

Whether it was intended or not, mr murphy said the benefits his company receives from partnering with the not-for-profit organisation entwines all throughout the business. “It’s great for team building in our internal community and in our office. It allows our staff to get actively involved with our core principles and the values we support,” mr murphy said. “It’s also great for the guys and the girls to be able to get dressed up and go out for the charity race days and the Grand Winter Ball. Working in this industry can be pretty high-speed at times. So, it’s nice to be able to let your hair down and unwind with your workmates and also get to know your suppliers and sub-contractors on a personal level. It builds those relationships, which is really important in the workplace. “It certainly has given us a stronger brand and a bigger brand presence, as a relatively new business it has probably made us a bit more well-known, probably a bit quicker too.”


STEPS - 30 Years “Congratulations” Covey Associates Pty Ltd has been operating from the Sunshine Coast for close to 30 years & has grown to have successful offices in Maroochydore, North Lakes, Tamworth, Armidale & Papua New Guinea.

The team is well regarded by its industry peers, clients & government organisations for their work. Managing Director, Kevin Covey puts it down to one simple idea “communication is the absolute key & people, no matter what the project, no matter where you are, want to know what is happening”.

Kevin Holt Consulting is a proud supporter of STEPS and celebrates 30 years of making a difference in the lives of people with a disability and their families on the Sunshine Coast.

By focusing on strengths, anticipating problems & being proactive with solutions, you can ensure your own success.

We deliver value to clients through innovation and quality service at a competitive price.

Proud to be part of the STEPS family & looking forward to continuing our support of this worthy organisation.

Residential • Commercial • Industrial

(07) 3219 0400 | brisbane@kevinholtconsulting.com

er for You Working Hard


Surveyors and Town Planners


Covey has 50 full time staff, all skilled in areas that cover all facets of engineering & construction project delivery covering Residential, Tourism, Commercial, Industrial & Public Works, Environmental, Education, Racing & Aged Care and Retirement Sectors.

07 5443 7777

124 Duporth Avenue, Maroochydore Kevin Covey – Director


Prima Commercial is proud to partner with STEPS CHARITY in building brighter futures for young people with disabilities.

Congratulations STEPS for reaching a three-decade milestone. Your aspirations have brought to life a connected and vibrant community from the Sunshine Coast and across Australia. You celebrate individuality and Prima is proud to be part of this journey and to recognise STEPS and Carmel Crouch for the vision, integrity and innovation the Group demonstrates across its services every single day.

Proudly Supporting

Visit: primacommercial.com.au or call (07) 5473 9055 to find out more.


Prima Commercial is a second generation Sunshine Coast business that supports South East Queensland and Australia in delivering tailored commercial environments designed to meet individualised client needs.

by thE COMMunity FOr thE COMMunity

“We are supporting young adults living with a disability and partnering with organisations...” STEPS Charity manager Angela Harrison

“I wouldn’t be here, If I didn’t believe in the cause,” ms Harrison said. STEPS Charity was established to ‘fill the gaps,’ funding projects in the community with no available government funding and an obvious need to support those people who had been left to fall between the gaps of various government support programs. Purely driven by the support of the surrounding community, STEPS Charity receive no government funding - in fact all of their work is funded through the generosity of those who share the charity’s vision to create a brighter future for people with a disability. One of the charity’s major success stories has been STEPS Pathways College, an Australian first educational program that is giving young adults with a disability new hope for an independent future. STEPS Charity are also working to support young people and families with autism and Asperger’s syndrome gain better access to support and services on the Sunshine Coast through STEPS Autism Treehouse. STEPS Charity manager Angela Harrison said the work of the charity throughout many different communities is crucial for the one in five Australians who live with a disability. It promotes equality and offers opportunities for those individuals to gain independence and improve the quality of their life.

“There are 78,000 families in our nation that say, ‘what will happen to my child when I’m gone.’ “So, it’s a very real issue. We have been serving in this space for 30 years and we get to make a real difference every single day.” much of the funds raised for the charity are driven through business supported social events such as the BA murphy Constructions Race Day, Vantage Homes Trek for Autism and larger scale premier events like the annual STEPS Grand Winter Ball. ms Harrison said the overwhelming support of local business showed that STEPS Charity has the ability to speak to the hearts of many, but it also shows, that the charity is able to engage in ‘proactive partnerships’ where both parties are able to benefit from the relationship. This type of positive partnership is achieved through a shared interest between the charity and business with mutual goals and values. ms Harrison said that the way in which commercial business operates is beginning to change and many businesses are genuinely concerned with how they can help make a difference in their local communities. “The majority of the people who partner with us, it’s primarily around them getting to make a difference and

them making a difference in a really grand way,” ms Harrison said. “We are supporting young people living with a disability and partnering with organisations, it gives them an opportunity to say, ‘look I’m doing my part socially,’ it helps their staff members connect with the morals and values involved, it drives staff engagement and it builds credibility for their brand.” In 2018, STEPS Charity was able to raise more than $640,000 to change the lives of those living with a disability. Through their initiatives, they are helping more and more young people with disabilities learn to live independently and are supporting Australian families including the 1,200 families on the Sunshine Coast who have one or more children who have autism. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of STEPS Group Australia, ms Harrison said members of the charity and its supporters are continually committed to helping the hundreds of Sunshine Coast residents who are supported every day through the charity’s various programs. “Disability doesn’t discriminate it can turn up in anyone’s life at any time, whether that’s a physical disability, an intellectual disability or mental illness. If you actually stop and think about it, it probably affects someone you know, and love. We are trying to be that bridge and fill that gap for those people we love.”

STEPS Charity build brighter futures through partnerships - ARB Maroochydore, Ken Mills Toyota, BA Murphy Constructions & The Fleet Office.



PHOTO: Courtesy of Matters Magazine

A niGht AMOnG thE stArs Taylor Henderson performs.

The annual STEPS Grand Winter Ball is one of the most exciting events on the Sunshine Coast social calendar. Every year supporters and sponsors of STEPS Charity gather to raise funds for people with a disability in an evening worthy of a Hollywood spectacular. STEPS Charity manager Angela Harrison said the event is the charity’s largest of the year, but for the upcoming 30-year Anniversary of STEPS, things are going to be raised to a whole new level. In 2019, the event has moved locations to the brandnew Sunshine Coast Convention Centre at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort, allowing it to cater to the demand of being able to hold more guests within a larger space. This has opened up some exciting entertainment opportunities, but ms Harrison insists she cannot say a word, without unveiling the surprises. ms Harrison said the event was one that many locals look forward to as they get the chance to dress up in their fanciest attire and spend the evening living like a star. “I believe it is THE premier black-tie event of the Sunshine Coast,” she said. “Everyone loves getting glammed up in their ball gowns and tuxedos because you don’t get to that very often.

Pathways College students shine.

“It really is an incredible event where we pull out all stops to deliver the most amazing evening for the Sunshine Coast all while raising much needed funds. The 2019 STEPS Charity Winter Ball held in partnership with BA murphy Constructions will be held on July 27.

There are so many ways to get involved with STEPS Charity From partnerships to volunteering or easy workplace giving – find out more at stepscharity.com.au

Angela Harrison, Ben Murphy & Anne Nioa celebrate.

Ben & Amanda Murphy.



DARWIN & REMOTE NT • STEPS Employment Solutions • STEPS Education & Training • Adult Migrant English Program

ALICE SPRINGS & BARKLY REGION • STEPS Employment Solutions • STEPS Education & Training • Adult Migrant English Program

DERBY • STEPS Education & Training

PERTH • National Panel of Assessors

ADELAIDE • National Panel of Assessors

OUR FOOTPRINT STEPS Group Australia is passionate about making a difference in the world by providing individuals and communities across Australia, the opportunity to shine.




• National Panel of Assessors: Beaufort, Geelo Melbourne, Mildura, Wangaratta

CAIRNS • STEPS Employment Solutions • STEPS Education & Training

TOWNSVILLE & AYR • STEPS Employment Solutions • STEPS Education & Training • National Disability Coordination Officer Program

BUNDABERG & WIDE BAY • STEPS Community Services • STEPS Social & Community • STEPS Employment Solutions • STEPS Education & Training • STEPS Care for Carers • Dove Recruitment • STEPS Staffing Solutions

SUNSHINE COAST • STEPS Group Australia Head Office • STEPS Pathways College • STEPS Charity • STEPS Community Services • STEPS Autism Treehouse • STEPS Social & Community • STEPS Employment Solutions • STEPS Education & Training • STEPS Nursery • Dove Recruitment • STEPS Staffing Solutions • National Disability Coordination Officer Program • STEPS Commercial Cleaning • STEPS Car Cleaning

NEW SOUTH WALES • National Panel of Assessors: Yamba Sydney Wagga Wagga

ong, Gippsland,

TASMANIA • STEPS Employment Solutions • STEPS Education & Training • Indigenous Advancement Strategy



COMinG tOGEthEr undEr OnE FAMiLy trEE


“I have always held the view that the best way to support families and young people living with autism is by providing the opportunity to connect with others in their community in a safe, and supported way,” ms Staines said. “Key to the success of our services is listening to families to understand what their needs are as they navigate school, social situations and relationships, as well as continual changes to technology, awareness, policy and funding. “We recently increased our service offering to provide support and social groups for teenagers living with autism which has been really popular. “We’re continuing to listen to the community and constantly evolving and changing our services so that we

thE pOWEr OF bELOnGinG Joanna Watkins and her family are just one of the many families on Sunshine Coast that the STEPS Autism Treehouse supports. As a mother, she leans on the organisation for social support not only for her son Zane, but also for herself. Zane attends the Teens Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Social Group every Friday night, a get-together Joanna said helps her son shine and break out of his shell. “Normally he wouldn’t go to a social group, he just wouldn’t and if he did he would just not talk to anyone,” Joanna said. “But there he feels more relaxed I suppose because he’s getting to know the kids and there are no expectations put on them. If they go and just want to sit in the corner and not speak to anybody, then no one thinks 14


SuNSHiNE COAST ASD SuPPORT GROuP (Parents of Teenagers and Adolescents)




(Adults living with Autism)

STEPS Autism Treehouse builds community and connects Sunshine Coast families, children and young people living with autism. They provide support to the community with access to resources, life skills programs, education and regular social events. STEPS Deputy Chief Executive Officer Kerry Staines said they are focussed on creating opportunities for young people living with autism and their families to enjoy life to the full and develop meaningful connections with their community.








can fill the gaps and meet the needs of the community,” she said. STEPS bring a range of health professionals and autism experts to speak at workshops and presentations throughout the year at their educational workshops to help connect families with the latest information. They will be hosting the inaugural STEPS Sunshine Coast


Autism Seminar this October with keynote speaker Professor Tony Attwood. They also have NDIS Support coordination officers to help with NDIS plan management and support for the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg regions. To find out more about the STEPS Autism Treehouse call (07) 5409 9014.

that’s strange because everyone’s used to it. Because of that, we find the kids are really happy to go and they integrate well and make friends with each other.” Through STEPS Autism Treehouse, Joanna and Zane have participated in a range of activities that have helped them connect with other like-minded families. From Harry Potter trivia nights and uNO tournaments to LEGO workshops and self-defence classes. “They organise all different types of activities for the kids. Zane just loves it and it’s all ASD kids, so they are all used to each other’s little differences. It’s very hard for these kids to socialise but here, they feel like they can be themselves because they’ve got other kids who understand them,” Joanna said. While Zane busies himself with all the fun and games of his Teen Social Group, Joanna utilises the time to unwind with the other parents. “The mums can stay or go whatever they prefer, usually myself and a couple of the other mums duck down to K-mart or something to give ourselves a little break,” Joanna said. “us mums do a morning tea meet up once a month,

year round events for families living with autism.

which is absolutely fabulous because we can have a bit of a vent, catch up or trade information which is so important especially with NDIS coming in now because there’s a lot we don’t know. “Just having another mum to talk to who are going through the same stuff is so valuable. “I’ve got great support with my wonderful family my other friends but the mums at the Autism Treehouse, they just get it. “I’d be very lost and lonely without STEPS. I don’t rely really on any other charities because they just have so many great programs and, to be honest, it feels like an extended family.”

thE sunshinE COAst trEks FOr AutisM

Aligning with World Autism Awareness month in April, this year’s event raised more than $80,000 for STEPS Autism Treehouse. The services offered through the initiative are a lifeline for the families who benefit from the many social events, educational workshops, support groups and care services that STEPS Autism Treehouse helps to deliver. Hundreds of Coast residents stormed the streets slogging out the 25km track from Coolum Beach to mooloolaba in true community spirit. major sponsors Vantage Homes Queensland had more than 20 staff members participate in the trek and collectively were able to raise $10,000 for the charity. Director of Vantage Homes Queensland, Glenn Carmichael said he was very proud of the efforts of his

Vantage Homes Queensland is a major sponsor of the STEPS Autism Treehouse.

Trekking for Autism, 2019.

staff and their dedication was proof that the support of this charity holds a special place in the hearts of many. Sunshine Coast Councillor Jason O Pray also participated on the day and said the event showcased only a small snippet of the important work STEPS does in the community. “It was a most beautiful Sunshine Coast day for a beautiful event,” he said. “Today we were able to raise more than $80,000. What a big bonus for STEPS and what a wonderful thing that they do for people right across the whole country, but also and most importantly the young kids of Queensland. So, thank you very much to STEPS Charity and thanks very much to Vantage Homes.” On April 5, 2020, the event will return for its third consecutive year. So, save the date and be sure to bring your trekking shoes and let’s take a stride together for those in our local community who rely on the support of STEPS Autism Treehouse.

The award-winning construction company has been the major partner for the Trek for Autism since its inception in 2018. Vantage Homes Queensland believes in ‘building a better community’ by supporting charities and community events within the regions it operates. On the Sunshine Coast, STEPS Autism Treehouse helps to assist the 1,200 local families who have children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Vantage Homes is proud to assist these families by sponsoring the annual STEPS Autism Treehouse Christmas party whilst also helping to raise awareness around the disorder through its support of the Trek for Autism. Over the past decade, Vantage Homes Queensland has built an enviable reputation as one the Sunshine Coast’s leading residential home builders. To find out how they can help to build your dream home call 07 5458 5500 or email sales@vantagemail.com.au


5493 2600

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Jensen Electrical Group have been a proud supporter of STEPS Charity for several years and were the electrical contractor who contributed to the Pathways College. All electrical and air conditioning services in: • Domestic • Residential • Commercial • Industrial *Terms: Domestic installs only, Valid until 31-08-19

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There are many people on the Sunshine Coast who have or at least know someone with autism, and each year to show them the community cares, Sunshine Coast residents walk side-by-side at the Vantage Homes Trek for Autism.


Phone 07 5491 1644 CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF STEPS


WOrkinG With indiGEnOus COMMunitiEs NEw hOPE fOR PRISONERS IN ThE mOTOR TRadES INdUSTRy In answer to a cry from the motor Trades Association for the Northern Territory, who were facing a critical skills shortage affecting the multi-billion-dollar industry, STEPS Education & Training stepped in with a win-win solution. Working in collaboration with the mTA and the Department of Correctional Services Northern Territory, STEPS helped to develop and innovative program aimed at reducing re-incarceration rates by providing prisoners with the skills needed to work in the motor trades industry upon their release, and effectively tackling the industry skills shortage in the region.

STEPS PaRTNER wITh RIO TINTO TO dElIVER SkIllS fOR EmPlOymENT STEPS Education and Training in the Northern Territory partner with Rio Tinto and a handful of local business and training organisations in the Nhulunbuy and Ski Beach region to deliver training tailored to meet the local job market. Yolngu students take part in a range of work related activities and learn life skills such as health and nutrition, first aid, and drug and alcohol education before moving

elderly and people with a disability in remote Indigenous communities through the delivery of Aged Care, Home and Community Care and Community Services training. into work placements at the Rio Tinto Alcan mine and the Gumatj Corporation.

ImPROVINg EmPlOyabIlITy IN TaSmaNIa The Jobs, Land and Economy Programme forms part of the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy that aims to improve employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians. STEPS deliver this programme throughout Tasmania working with Indigenous Australians to identify the support and skills they need to reduce barriers to employment. The level of support we provide is customised to each participant’s individual requirements ranging from language, literacy and numeracy training and interview preparation, to assistance in obtaining a driver’s licence, and support with health issues.

ChaNgINg lIVES IN ThE NORThERN TERRITORy STEPS work to improve the quality of care for the

Training across 14 remote communities in the Northern Territory, STEPS work in collaboration with the mcDonald and Central Desert Shires and local service providers to plan and develop workforce strategies that promote workplace skills and participation. Training is delivered with the support of the Northern Territory Government and the Department of Social Services.

REd dESERT gaThERINgS using art as a medium to tackle inequality for Indigenous Australians in Alice Springs, STEPS have helped locals to achieve financial independence through their art work as part of their Red Desert Gatherings program. Participants have the opportunity to gain skills aimed at long term wellbeing and improved quality of life such as language, literacy and numeracy training and money management, along with health and wellbeing support.


Metroll look forward to working with you into the future Select from our product range, we have everything you need... 07 5493 7872 10 Bearing Avenue, Warana, sunshinecoast@metroll.com.au www.metroll.com.au 7018651aa



EquAL OppOrtunitiEs in thE WOrkpLACE STEPS Employment Solutions have been providing disability employment services on the Sunshine Coast for 30 years. What started as a small group of parents looking to fill the gap in support for their children with a disability who were leaving school, turned into a national roll out of disability employment support services providing people with a disability more equitable access to the workforce and financial independence. STEPS managing Director Carmel Crouch was one of those parents determined to ensure her child had the same opportunities to employment as everyone else, and today she continues to drive STEPS’ vision for equal employment opportunities for people with a disability. She said that while much had been achieved in improving the rate of disability employment over the last 30 years, there were many employers who were

yet to realise the benefits of employing someone with a disability. “People with a disability bring a whole swag of skills and specific traits that can be a real positive to any workplace, including great problem-solving skills, flexibility and loyalty,” ms Crouch said. “many of the jobseekers we work with are skilled and experienced within their field, it is our job to encourage employers to see past the disability and instead see the unique abilities of each candidate.” In the last month STEPS have helped over 1000 people with a disability on the Sunshine Coast find work. STEPS provide a range of opportunities to help people back into the workforce and on track to their chosen career. They provide jobseekers with one on one support to ensure they’re prepared for employment and succeed in their new role. STEPS can help people with; ■ Setting career goals ■ Resume writing and interview preparation ■ Training to improve workplace skills

Melissa’s part of a workplace that focuses on ability.

■ Helping to find and apply for jobs ■ Support once they find work ■ Workplace advice and information In addition to disability employment services, STEPS also offer full recruitment service to employers, run workshops and courses that increase employability skills, and offer training designed in conjunction with local industry to skill jobseekers for local jobs. For help with finding work or for free recruitment support phone STEPS Employment Solutions on 1300 078 377.

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WHY CHOOSE US With over 30 years’ experience, our professional and experienced technicians are equipped to carry out all necessary repairs, servicing and maintenance on all cooling and heating systems as well as commercial refrigeration and electrical works. At Cool Air we know that quality is everything and we strive to male sire your experience is informed, personalised and honest.

07 5443 3994 www.coolaircon.com.au admin@coolaircon.com.au 180 Maroochydore Road, Maroochydore 4558 EC: 83641 | ABN: 21 064 908 416 QBCC: 73634 | RTA: AU01640

At HR Design Group, we provide a comprehensive service to builders, developers, local Councils, building designers and architects throughout Australia. We also take great pride in offering the same level of competitive and reliable service to individual home owners and owner-builders. Our clients range from individual home owners through to large national project builders. Our Structural and Civil Engineers are renowned for their innovative and practical approach to every engineering challenge, whilst providing design solutions of the highest technical standard. This is achieved by combining our extensive experience and the latest technology in structural analysis, resulting in the most cost-effective and practical solution. HR Design Group also have considerable experience working with property managers and body corporate organisations and are readily able to assist with your property needs.

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inCLusivE businEss strAtEGy pAys OFF Darron Eastwell is a well-known inspirational figure on the Sunshine Coast. The former senior banking executive can now add published author to his long list of credentials after documenting his story of survival in his book ‘The Day I Broke my Brain.’

The book tells the story of Darron’s recovery over the last four years since suffering a traumatic brain injury in a mountain biking accident in 2015. The Sunshine Coast father has overcome hardship and pain to get where he is today. After a long road to recovery, Darron was still to achieve his goal of returning to work, so he signed up with STEPS Employment Solutions to get the support and training he needed to achieve his employment goals. STEPS Employment Solutions maroochydore site leader Angie Dorman said in only a few months Darron found his niche and was successfully placed into paid employment. “In a short period of time he was contributing to his family’s finances and making new connections through work, right where he wanted to be, continuing to achieve his goals,” Angie said. “It was easy for us to connect Darron with the right support services to assist his transition back into paid employment, his employer saw how quickly Darron became a very valuable asset to their team, and we just connected the dots. “We got to know Darron’s goals, we knew that returning to the workforce was a very important step. “We believe understanding our jobseekers’ goals are the key to our success. “When Darron had a few challenges, I was able to make some suggestions to help him overcome them, such as taking daily notes and recording them in a ‘memory book’, a really simple but effective tool,” Angie said.

Mambo Coffee Roasters’ diverse workforce pays off.

strengths to their business such as increased problemsolving skills, persistence, adaptability, willingness and loyalty Darron does not let much, if anything, get in his way. He is a motivator. Darron started working with Rick and Jacque after completing their specialist barista training course then additional work experience and has not looked back. “my wife took on the role of providing and caring for our family after my accident, now I get to contribute too,” Darron said. “I want a career, not just a job, and I want to be part of a network, meet people and be a contributing member of society. “I still have small hurdles, like fatigue, it’s still a challenge some afternoons, but I know my limits,” Darron says. “my hope is that my story may provide others with motivation to keep positive and push themselves. Darron’s message is a powerful one, it’s based on hard work and a ‘can do’ attitude. It’s an ethos he shares with his employers. Their shared belief is centred on a strong work ethic. Jacque believes that all people have their strengths. “You’ve just got to give it time and get to know your employee’s strengths, and how they can value add to the business, and go from there,” Jacque said. He is also one of the nicest guys you could meet.

Some say from people’s differences arise great talents and perspectives that have the potential to make our society richer - that’s certainly the case with the team at mambo Coffee Roasters .

Darron hopes that sharing his lived experience can help others, go to darroneastwell.com.au for more information and links to brain injury Australia.

Business owners Rick and Jacque Caspersen believe in the value of a diverse and inclusive workforce, they know that people with disabilities bring a whole new suite of

Rick and Jacque are right up there with Darron, being some of the nicest people you could meet, they have a diverse workforce and they are driven business people.



“I want a career, not just a job, and I want to be part of a network, meet people and be a contributing member of society.” Darron Eastwell

Their passion for coffee is unmistakable and they love sharing it. But for them it’s not simply about running another successful specialty coffee business, their love of what they do runs deep. They’ve been at the helm of some of the Sunshine Coast’s most popular espresso bars for over a decade. It’s clear to many that they do more than make just a good cup of coffee. They train the best baristas and new business owners in the region, Rick isn’t your usual trainer, his love for his craft and the people he works with, is what sets him apart. Both Rick and Jacque feel like their business has prospered since employing Darron. “We’re lucky Darron chose us,” Jacque said. STEPS helps customers with tailored support and advice to assist them with their career pathways, as well as provide on-the-job support to ensure the best outcome for both the employer and employee. Find out more at www.stepsemploymentsolutions.com.au

puttinG thE CArE bACk intO rECruitMEnt STEPS Staffing Solutions have developed a unique and personalised approach to recruitment, ensuring that local health, community, aged care and disability organisations are acquiring the best staff to meet the high industry standards.

“Demand for community sector services has resulted in a shortage of employees, we’ve established a tailored pool of vetted staff to fit these requirements. The team at STEPS Staffing Solutions have extensive recruitment and ‘On-Hire’ expertise with 40 years’ combined industry experience backed by processes designed to provide compliant, seamless and simplistic recruitment services. Debbie says they take the time to understand the culture and needs of each business they work with, to ensure they provide staff that will be the right fit for the organisation. “Our role as recruitment partner is to listen, respond quickly and meet expected outcomes,” Debbie said.

STEPS Staffing Solutions manager and recruitment expert Debbie Rawlings says they are a proud Sunshine Coast business that is constantly looking at ways to evolve, to provide caring and professional support to this diverse region.

“The aged & disability sector requires us to support our most vulnerable community members, our workers undergo specialist attitude testing, and are screened for skills and experience.

“As more aged care facilities open up across the region and our population ages, it's important the right individuals are in place to support them, we pride ourselves on carefully selecting empathetic, driven workers,” Debbie said.

“Staff come with a clear police check and relevant tickets, we also source workers from the STEPS Education & Training programs that specialise is skilling people for the aged and community care sector, and work closely with employers to ensure students graduate with the

Providing the right fit for the job.

skills to meet local employer needs. “We provide the human connection, to ensure that the lives of those we are serving are enhanced by our interactions,” she said. Visit www.stepsstaffingsolutions.com.au to find out why their approach sets them apart.

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skiLLinG thE FuturE WOrkFOrCE

STEPS Education & Training deliver courses and programs across Australia and pride themselves on structuring training in collaboration with local industry to ensure students graduate with skills that meet local employer needs. Their focus on industry partnerships and flexible delivery achieves successful outcomes for both employers and students, with particular success in the Sunshine Coast region. STEPS believe that by addressing the needs of their customers they can positively contribute to the social and economic future of a community as a whole. STEPS Education & Training Executive manager Joel Stevens said their courses, particularly the Individual Support courses, have a great reputation with past, current and future students because of their high postgraduation employment rate.

“We’re not just in the business of getting our students to graduation, we’re in the business of getting our students jobs...”

Students gain the right skills for the job.

STEPS Education & Training Executive manager Joel Stevens

“We have a great reputation with local aged, disability, home and community care providers because we are skilling the Sunshine Coast workforce in a way that meets consumer and industry demands,” mr Stevens said. “We’re not just in the business of getting our students to graduation, we’re in the business of getting our students jobs and that requires listening to the needs of our local employers so that we can tailor our courses to meet local skills shortages and deliver outstanding job ready candidates.”

Workplace based training.

The geographic diversity of the areas STEPS service across Australia has shaped STEPS as innovators in the field of customised training, responsive to the often difficult environments in which they work and the broad range of industries they support. STEPS’ key focus areas: ■ Workplace based training and support strategies for employers ■ Industry partnerships that build workplace skills and productivity ■ Skilling jobseekers to meet local market needs ■ Customised language, literacy and numeracy training ■ Foundation skills that promote pathways to study and employment For more information on the full range of STEPS Education & Training courses call 1300 131 965. 20


Skilling jobseekers to meet industry needs.

Fun FOr EvEryOnE STEPS Community Services work with people with a disability and or living with a mental illness, their families and their carers, to provide flexible, individualised support to improve the quality of life of their customers. Based in maroochydore, STEPS Community Services Sunshine Coast offer flexible and fun recreational activities for health and wellness as well as forming friendships and social networks. STEPS Deputy Chief Executive Officer Kerry Staines said all their customers are unique, so they make it a priority to understand their customer’s needs and tailor services to meet each individual’s unique needs. “By assisting a person to be healthy, well and secure, we can open them up to opportunities that truly make a difference,” ms Staines said. “We work strategically to grow and expand our services to help people in need of assistance, including those who are vulnerable due to isolation, limited support networks and are facing multiple barriers to wellness. “Our services are designed to provide greater wellbeing, enjoyment, and independence in life.” Getting active, socialising and having fun is at the core of all recreational activities organised by STEPS.

“Our services are designed to provide greater well-being, enjoyment, and independence in life.”

Getting active and social at the Tin Can Bay annual camp.

STEPS Deputy Chief Executive Officer Kerry Staines

With a broad range of classes, ranging from bushwalking and swimming to cooking and craft, there is something for everyone including three-day camps held twice annually. The classes are available for everyone to take part in. For more information phone 07 5456 7100. Recreational classes are for everyone.

Meeting the local dolphins at camp.



hELpinG pEOpLE GEt thE MOst Out OF thEir ndis With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rolling out on the Sunshine Coast last January STEPS Community Services have been working hard to help clients transition to the new scheme.

independence based around individual need and choices.”

As part of this new government funding system, those living with disability in Australia can have greater choice and more control.

The organisation is an industry leader with over 30 years’ experience working in the sector. They can help select the appropriate services for individuals to achieve their specific goals.

STEPS Deputy CEO Kerry Staines said while the scheme is a very positive step forward for the one in five Australians who live with a disability, it can also be a confusing system to navigate. “The NDIS is a revolutionary new scheme for individuals with a disability, their families and carers,” ms Staines said. “STEPS are helping people to navigate through the web of information and are working closely with our customers and families, showing them the tools and supports available to help them confidently achieve a life of greater

For clients who need assistance with NDIS Plan management and Coordination Support, STEPS is there to assist.

STEPS NDIS Support Coordinators have localised, specialised knowledge on what support services are available to help clients find the best services to suit their needs, and at the right price. The organisation can even manage an individual’s plan, taking out the hard work, so they can get back to living life and focusing on what’s important to them. STEPS also support Australians living with mental illness on their journey towards recovery. STEPS’ services are designed to provide greater well-being, enjoyment,

NDiS support for more independence.

and independence in life. STEPS NdIS support services include: ■ Assistance with day to day activities ■ Supported accommodation ■ Recreational activities such as art classes, social gathering, camping, fishing, bush walking ■ Community access and participation ■ Development of life skills for independent living ■ Help with entering of returning to the workforce in a job best suited to an individual’s employment goals ms Staines said STEPS is passionate about helping to create brighter futures.

07 3869 4777

from our Team at Precision Concreting Qld on 30 years.

To your wonderful group of talented students




JAZZ DESiGNS Housing Design






sOCiAL EntErprisEs

The nursery team.

STEPS Car Cleaning provides job opportunities for people with long term barriers to gaining employment.

All profits from the nursery go back into supporting people with disabilities and give back to projects that support STEPS Group Australia’s commitment to making a difference by providing opportunity.

When you choose to use STEPS Car Cleaning, not only do you get a professional cleaning service, but you also give back to your local community.

Visit the nursery in Caloundra for all your gardening and landscaping needs and help support your local community. For more information call 5436 6023.


The employees are more than just great cleaners, they are people in the community who have experienced mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, and who are working hard to get back into the workforce and on track to long term wellbeing. For more information call 5458 3000.

STEPS NURSERy; STEPS Nursery is a unique, not-for-profit social venture that provides a space for the whole community to get together and share the benefits of gardening. The nursery has been designed as a place to develop employment skills, volunteer, gain experience and to experience the well-being benefits of a nursery.

This in turn ensures the effective operation of their business and minimises the impact staff change can have on productivity and the associated costs. For recruitment services that give back to the community contact Dove Recruitment on 1300 110 444 or visit www.doverecruitment.com.au

dOVE RECRUITmENT; Dove Recruitment is an expert recruitment solutions provider, specialising in commercial and executive placements. The agency is part of STEPS Group Australia, and all their profits go to supporting STEPS Charity and people with disabilities. The agency has a long history on the Coast, having been established since 1989. They recognise the importance of success and accuracy in the recruitment process and that’s why they work diligently to identify and select skilled and

Congratulations on 30 years STEPS!

Ph. 5477 7777 QBCC: 1278126


Frankland Plasterers have been so proud to work with you along the way.

experienced employees for their clients.

Great service.





For more than 15 years, STEPS Nursery has provided a place for students, volunteers, and people with a disability to build their work experience, learn new skills, socialise, and develop their ability to work as part of a team.


CREATING A BRIGHTER FUTURE STEPS are committed to shaping a future aged, disability, home and community care workforce that promotes independence and empowers individuals to achieve their best every day through our training and recruitment services. Our range of education and support programs focus on creating equal opportunities for people with a disability, and people living with autism and mental illness. We’re creating opportunities for our customers and a brighter future for our community. Find out how STEPS can help you.

For more information call STEPS on 5458 3000


Profile for NRM Custom Publishing

Steps - Celebrating 30 years  

Steps - Celebrating 30 years

Steps - Celebrating 30 years  

Steps - Celebrating 30 years