Joel and Cherie sitting together on a couch

Dandelion Programme benefits recruits and families

Cherie Martin said words can’t describe the happiness she felt when she found out her son, Joel Bissmire, was accepted into the Dandelion Programme.

The programme is a partnership between the Department of Human Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Danish organisation Specialisterne, and offers three-year traineeships to people on the Autism Spectrum.

Cherie found out about the Dandelion Programme at a software testing conference in Sydney early 2014.

“I heard about the programme commencing in Adelaide and Joel was going to apply but by the time we heard about it the applications had closed,” Cherie explained.

“I then registered for Autism Queensland in the hope that it would come to Brisbane and it did. So as soon as we were notified Joel applied,” she said.

Cherie said she’s been astounded by how much her son has grown since taking up the role.

“Even family and friends have commented to me how much Joel has grown socially since he began the programme.

“His self-confidence has also grown and he’s now planning for the future, thinking up ideas on what he needs to do and how he will achieve his goals.”

She said another positive was that Joel can now contribute to home life, both socially and financially.

“He’s able to help me in many ways now, doing the shopping coming home from work, helping pay bills, assisting more with chores – it’s been great.”

She says as a parent she will always worry about her son but she knows he’s in a better position to achieve his goals than he was a couple of years ago.

She wants other parents, who have children on the Autism Spectrum to understand that there are employment opportunities out there.

“Even recently I saw opportunities at the Department of Defence – what an awesome opportunity that would be,” Cherie said.

“Make sure that you register with your local and state Autism support programs as they will provide information to you and it is through these support groups that you can find the right employer that will actually look at the skills needed for jobs and will provide the right support for your child.

“Having a child on the Autism Spectrum that finally finds work that is motivating, stimulating and offers the right support will only improve their lives and the lives of the people around them.”

Hear more from Cherie about how the Dandelion Programme has helped Joel.

Dandelion parents transcript (20KB, DOCX)
Dandelion parents transcript (119KB, PDF)

More information

  • Enquiries about the programme can be directed to specialistpeople@hpe.com