Office National owner Rachel Townsend with Rachel Smith who has spent six months at the Auckland St store on work experience.
Office National owner Rachel Townsend with Rachel Smith who has spent six months at the Auckland St store on work experience. Paul Braven GLA190517WORK

24 job opportunities up for grabs as Gladstone program ramps up

RACHEL Smith has turned up to work with a beaming smile every day for the past six months.

The keen basketballer, dancer and soccer player has completed work experience at Office National, stacking shelves and greeting customers with her warm smile.

The 18-year-old has an intellectual disability after medical professionals, shortly before her seventh birthday, realised an inability to process protein was causing her to suffer seizures.

Ms Smith was employed through a six-month work experience program arranged by disability employment service APM.

"I'm a generally happy and joyful person all the time," she said.

"I enjoy serving the customers."

While her work placement is almost finished, APM has a goal to employ 24 Gladstone people with disabilities in the next four weeks.

It hopes to get more employers on board, starting with an information session about the program next week.

Office National owner of nine years Rachel Townsend said Ms Smith had been doing well and learned a lot.

"Hopefully I've been able to give her an experience and skills she'll be able to use in life," she said.

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