Local chocolate factory finds perfect recipe for staff
Visiting a chocolate factory is a childhood dream for many but for one local woman it’s what she has to look forward to every day.
Rhonda Hammond landed her sweet gig at Macaday Farm, local producers of delectable choc coated macadamia bars, after new owners Emily and Bernie Wickham turned to STEPS Employment Solutions for support.
“We found STEPS by accident, but now that we know they exist it’s a way for us to find all our new employees,” Emily said.
Before Rhonda joined the Macaday Farm team Emily and Bernie juggled managing both production and sales on their own.
“Trying to run that factory with just my husband and I was quite difficult, and Rhonda relieves a lot of the pressure. It’s made the process a lot smoother.”
Rhonda’s new job, which involves preparing the handmade rocky road, has played an important role in helping her manage her disability and overcome personal challenges.
“I didn’t want to get out of the house beforehand and now I feel happy because I have a reason to get up in the morning,” she said.
“Emily and Bernie’s attitude towards the business is just brilliant. They’ve got integrity, they want to thrive with this business and take it into the future. That makes me really happy because I want to be a part of a team like that.”
Emily encourages all businesses to consider employing people with a disability and said the government incentives available when hiring someone with a disability can greatly help new businesses, giving them the financial confidence to hire a person long term.
“It helps keep our cash flow going in these early stages of our business and allow us to get the help that we need,” she said.
“Just because people have a disability doesn’t mean that they can’t work. We have a daughter who has a disability and we’d hate to think that people wouldn’t employ her because of her disability,” she said.
“We want people who want to get excited about the business, and that’s what Rhonda does.”