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Supporting students with varying abilities

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

To celebrate International Day of People with Disability (3 December), we would like to share the stories of two of our dedicated students, Joanne and Dillon (see below). To find out more, visit the International Day of People with Disability website(opens in a new tab)


Joanne is a FIFO student who lives in Perth, works at a remote mine site in the Pilbara and is studying a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at the Pundulmurra (South Hedland) Campus. Joanne was referred to Accessibility in 2021 and has received support both in and out of the training restaurant. Initially, AccessAbility Support staff made visual aids which Joanne used as reminders of ways to prepare various foods. Due to Joanne’s varying abilities she also completed assignments with the assistance of her support worker who would scribe her answers on to the computer, then forward the completed assessments to the lecturer.

Joanne, who gained her apprenticeship at 52 years of age says she is very proud of her achievements so far. With all the support and encouragement the college has provided, her confidence and independence has grown and Joanne is now able to complete much of the work by herself. Joanne recognises that next year there will be more theory required as part of her studies and is pleased that support will again be available to her, should she need it.

Jane Turnbull from Compass Group shared that “Joanne is brilliant on the job and that with the support provided, is doing very well. Joanne has an amazingly positive approach, clearly passionate about a long-term culinary career and has now been nominated for ‘The Best Apprentice of the Year Award’ with the Compass Group!”

Amazing Joanne – keep up the great work!


Dillon commenced his training at the Broome campus in July 2018, after gaining an Apprenticeship with “The Wharf” Restaurant. Dillon, who experiences hearing difficulties, was initially referred to AccessAbility for support in April 2019. One of our support staff assisted Dillon with his assignments to successfully build his cookery knowledge base. Lecturers also ensured various “reasonable adjustments” were provided to pave the way for Dillon to complete his qualification.

In 2020 Dillon indicated that he wished to discontinue with the support and worked hard to complete units of study independently as much as possible. Although it did take a little longer than initially listed on the Training Plan, to Dillon’s credit he did not give up. We are thrilled to announce that Dillon will complete his Commercial Cookery Apprenticeship by the end of this year.

Congratulations Dillon – we wish you all the best in your future career!