Team win WA Disability Support award for supporting emerging Mandurah fashion designer

The Valued Lives Microenterprise Project Team were recognised at the WA Disability Support Awards for helping an emerging Mandurah fashion designer set up her own fashion range and kick start her modelling career. Photo: Supplied.
The Valued Lives Microenterprise Project Team were recognised at the WA Disability Support Awards for helping an emerging Mandurah fashion designer set up her own fashion range and kick start her modelling career. Photo: Supplied.

The Valued Lives Microenterprise Project Team have been honoured with a 2019 Western Australia Disability Support Award for their Excellence in Improving Employment Opportunities.

The awards, to celebrate the achievements of disability support workers, were hosted by National Disability Services (NDS) WA at a gala dinner at Crown Perth on May 11.

The Valued Lives Microenterprise Project Team of Geraldine Maddrell, Karen Reid and Jorden Garnaut were nominated by emerging Mandurah model and fashion designer Tia Semi for their work supporting her to secure meaningful employment based on her skills and passions.

The 21-year-old is passionate about celebrating her Samoan cultural heritage as well as encouraging others to see past differences and disability.

Tia is deaf, has intellectual disability, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

The team worked closely with Ms Semi to help her create a business plan to incorporate her love of design, sewing and fabric printing.

They then supported her to set up her own label, Tia's Funk and Soul, which she designs and sells through her website.

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As part of the process of setting up her own business, Ms Semi also proved to be a natural at modelling and continues to score new opportunities around Australia and overseas.

Ms Semi's mother Gina said the team had been pivotal in the ongoing success of her daughter's business.

''The team has supported Tia to build on her dreams to be a model and fashion designer and worked with her towards securing meaningful self-employment based on her existing skills and strengths,'' she said.

Now in their 11th year, the awards have been recognising the achievements of disability support workers since 2009.

NDS WA state manager Julie Waylen said they build on the long-term commitment of the disability services sector to offer solutions to deliver better outcomes for people with disability.

"Working in the disability sector is more than just a job - it's a great career choice for those looking for meaningful challenges and those who want to have a real and profound impact on the lives of people with disability, their families and carers," she said.