Sidney living dream of being gainfully employed in a trade

Sidney Smith is reaching for the stars in his new apprenticeship with O'Grady's Bakehouse thanks to a little help along the way.
Sidney Smith is reaching for the stars in his new apprenticeship with O'Grady's Bakehouse thanks to a little help along the way. Trish Bowman

FORGET the barriers, sheer determination and a little help from some friends is allowing Emu Park lad Sidney Smith to follow his dreams of being gainfully employed in a trade.

Having been diagnosed with Autism at an early age, Sidney has fought hard to achieve his dreams and now that dream has become a reality with an apprenticeship with O'Grady's Bakehouse in Yeppoon.

Sidney's father Scott said he worried a lot over the years about what the future held for his son.

"It hasn't been an easy road to travel and it is so heart-warming to see my boy working just like everyone else," Scott said.

"This whole situation is something we have dreamed for.

"It is just the most positive experience for Sidney and we have a lot of people to thank for all the assistance we have received."

Sidney said he was enjoying his work at O'Grady's Bakehouse.

"Everyone is so nice here, they all help me."

Sidney started his training as a pie maker and found it a little overwhelming to begin with so he swapped over to processing the dishes and has taken on new skills along the way.

With the assistance of a $9000 dishwasher through the job access program, he is now enjoying his training with ongoing mentoring and support.Sidney's entry into the workforce has been a collaboration between organisations and people who have gone above and beyond to see the young man's dreams come alive.

Yeppoon State High school, MEGT (a not for profit organisation specialising in making apprenticeships and traineeships happen), Advanced Personnel Management (a not for profit organisation that secures long term sustainable employment for those with injury, illness or disability) and O'Grady's Bakehouse worked together to ensure Sidney could obtain his goal.

Advanced Personnel Management Senior for CQ Renata Scherf said Sidney's story was a fine example that nothing was impossible.

"We do a lot of work with the schools and other organisations to ensure that people can dare to dream," Ms Scherf said.

"We are thrilled that Sidney has been given an opportunity to follow his dreams and attribute his success to his determination, family support and the support of numerous organisations who have all worked towards achieving the optimal results.

"O'Grady's Bakehouse partner/manager Madonna O'Grady said Yeppoon High School approached her about work experience and with assistance from MEGT and Advanced Personnel Management that experience gradually preceded into an apprenticeship for Sidney.

"I think everyone should be given an opportunity and we are very pleased that it has all worked out for Sidney," Ms O'Grady said.

"We have worked closely over the past 12 months with Sidney and he has progressed very well learning new skills all the time."

Topics:  apprentice emu park yeppoon yeppoon state high school

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