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Inside the Cookery Nook: everything you need to know about our supported employment program

It’s been the cornerstone of Mercy Community’s support for people with disabilities since the 1970s – and it’s also one of Brisbane’s most successful catering services.

No wonder Cookery Nook is so popular!

This supported employment program provides opportunities for people with disabilities who may not have access to mainstream jobs, assisting them in finding and maintaining meaningful employment.

It focuses on matching individuals’ skills and interests with suitable job opportunities while providing ongoing support to ensure success.

But how much do you really know?

What’s involved

Job development:

  • The process begins with identifying the individual’s skills, abilities, and preferences.
  • We work to find suitable employment opportunities within the Cookery Nook based on the individual’s strengths and interests.

Job coaching:

  • Job coaches provide on-the-job training and support to help individuals learn and perform their job tasks effectively.
  • The level of support varies based on individual needs and the complexity of the job, but every employee benefits from a tailored development plan during their time at Cookery Nook.

Ongoing support:

  • Continued assistance is provided to address any challenges or adjustments needed in the workplace.
  • Regular communication with both the employee and the employer helps ensure a successful long-term employment relationship.
The Cookery Nook team stand together outside the Cookery Nook Cafe for its grand opening.
The Cookery Nook team at the Cafe's opening.

Eligibility criteria

If the participant has an NDIS Plan with a budget allocation for Supported Employment, they may potentially engage in the program. Our staff can assist in reviewing your plan and determining eligibility.

A willingness and interest in gaining employment are essential for the success of the program.

The benefits

Supported employment offers numerous advantages, including:

Individuals gain greater independence and self-sufficiency through meaningful employment.

Supported employment encourages engagement within the community, fostering a sense of belonging.

Gainful employment contributes to an individual’s overall well-being and satisfaction.

Successful employment experiences positively impact self-esteem and confidence.

Employers benefit from a diverse workforce, gaining access to a variety of skills and perspectives.

Work with us ​!

Whether you’re interested in participating, collaborating, or contributing, we welcome your involvement in creating inclusive communities. 

For more information on how to get involved, contact us at 07 3267 9029 or fill out the enquiry form below.

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More about Cookery Nook

Cookery Nook has been supporting people with disabilities since the 1970s.

Our unwavering purpose is to provide individuals with disabilities meaningful employment opportunities in a safe, supportive environment where they can thrive socially and find purpose.

With the introduction of the NDIS across Queensland’s South East, Cookery Nook embraced a new chapter as a registered NDIS Australian Disability Enterprise. This transition added a commercial focus to our mission, aspiring to become Brisbane’s best caterer while enhancing capacity building for our team.

At Cookery Nook, we offer more than just employment; we provide comprehensive training to develop kitchen skills and foster personal growth within a commercial setting.

Our goal is to support our team in achieving their aspirations, whether in hospitality or beyond.

The confidence gained from working at Cookery Nook fuels our team members’ anticipation for future opportunities in the hospitality industry.

All profits generated from our catering services directly contribute to Mercy Community’s Disability Services, ensuring that every order supports our mission of positively impacting the lives of those we support.

Meet Nathan Russell

CEO Justin Lorenz (left) celebrating Nathan Russell's (right) 20th year of employment with Mercy Community.

Meet Nathan Russell. He recently clocked up 20 years at Mercy Community’s Cookery Nook catering service – making him the longest-serving employee.

After studying hospitality at school, Nathan did an apprenticeship at Baker’s Delight and then worked at Brumby’s.

When he heard about Cookery Nook, he was keen to get involved.

“I was keen to experience working as part of a disability support kitchen and be part of a supportive team,” he said. 

“I love the fact that everyone is really friendly and if anyone ever needs help, we are there for each other. We are all passionate about food and dedicated to serving up yummy things to eat.”

A baker at heart, Nathan’s slices, biscuits, and chocolate treats are a welcome addition to the Cookery Nook menu.

Read more about Cookery Nook here.

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