A new partnership between McCallum Disability Services and Central Highlands Water will provide people with a disability more opportunities for training and work. The partnership is part of a McCallum Industries' program to create work opportunities for supported employees that has expanded into Ballarat businesses. McCallum Disability Services chief executive Tyrone McCuskey said in the past McCallum had employed people with a disability to work within its Alfredton facility where the work was brought to them. But he said the focus had shifted in the past three years to partnering with the Ballarat business community and taking supported employees out to work. "We have progressively got more and more individuals into Ballarat business so we can demonstrate the capabilities of the individuals we support, but also the variety of work we can provide our supported employees," he said. "Working in multiple different locations in a different working environment helps develop independence and social skills." More than 100 McCallum supported employees have had the opportunity to work at businesses including MaxiTrans in their small parts/ components division, at Ballarat Renault detailing their vehicles and at VicRoads cleaning their offices and washing their fleet vehicles. "It gives them a broad range of skills development and ability application which they can then hopefully take into open employment, which is our ultimate goal," Mr McCuskey said. "Employers like MaxiTrans, Renault Ballarat and the Sebastopol RSL Club all speak very highly of the employees we put in to do the work." McCallum Disability Services supported employees Melani Iansom and Paul Comford have enjoyed the opportunity to work within different businesses. "It makes me realise what my inner abilities are and helps me to understand what I am truly capable of," Mr Comford said. "But it also helps me to be a good role model and a good reflection to other people. It is about knowing limitations but continue trying and never give up. "That is the special purpose of McCallum. It is to help people with a disability to find a purpose in life and discover their potential and their skills." Mr Comford said the program was an important example of creating inclusive workforces to reflect our diverse community. Central Highlands Water general manager Paul O'Donohue said he was proud to partner with McCallum as part of the company's social procurement strategy. "What we want to be is reflective of our community," he said. Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.