Supportive and community atmosphere at Blueline Laundry

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Home > Media > News > Supportive and community atmosphere at Blueline Laundry
Supportive and community atmosphere at Blueline Laundry

It is the excitement the supported employees have in coming to work, that makes Blueline Laundry such a lovely place to work, according to acting CEO Pam Cosker.

“We have a lot of customers that come through and tour and are really amazed at how fully integrated the workforce is … the supported employees are all throughout the business doing a whole range of things.

“There’s a real community feel here at Blueline, whether you’re a supported worker, or a full award worker, everyone helps everyone and gets along.”

Blueline Laundry is a social enterprise of the Archdiocese of Hobart.

The business performance manager for the laundry for the past five years, Mrs Cosker took on the role of acting CEO following CEO Andrew Hill’s move to CatholicCare Tasmania in September.

However, her first connection with Blueline was in 2002 when she joined the organisation as an assistant accountant.

“I learned so much here and really loved it. It was a great place to work; the supported employees really make [Blueline] a lovely place to work. They’re always so excited to be at work, and so I loved it.”

After a year at Blueline, she moved to an optometry company as their financial controller, before becoming business manager, and then returned to Blueline.
Mrs Cosker says she has ‘absolutely loved’ her time as business performance manager, a role which has allowed her to be involved in all facets of the business.

Rather than ‘not-for-profit’ Mrs Cosker says she’d prefer Blueline Laundry to be known as a ‘for purpose’ organisation.

“The purpose of the organisation is to provide as many people with disabilities jobs as we possibly can,” she said.

“You need to be sustainable in order to be able to do that. It may be the dream of Blueline is that into the future we may be bigger than a laundry. It may be that we can go into other areas in order to continue to provide people with opportunities.”

Today Blueline employs around 225 staff between two sites in Launceston and Hobart. Around 85 of those staff are supported employees.

Operational efficiency within the laundry and investing in staff through training and development – particularly in customer-service – have been two key focus areas for Mrs Cosker.

It is about staff recognising their importance to Blueline, and that their job is important, she says.

“It’s having [staff] realise that: ‘You’re not just the driver, you’re the face of Blueline.’

“We do a lot [of training] with the supported staff as well. We provide them with numeracy and literacy-type training to improve their skills, because obviously it is a great thing for everyone. The more they learn in that respect, the better they become at their jobs, and therefore the more fulfilling their jobs are, and the more jobs they can learn. But it also helps them in their life outside of here.”

Regular visits to the southern site by Blueline chaplain Fr Terry Yard are part of the supportive and community atmosphere at the laundry.

“He just comes along, and mingles and chats with staff … They look forward to him visiting and seek him out.”

Mrs Cosker says she hopes Blueline Laundry is an icon for places that provide real work for people living with disability.

“I’m proud that we employ a lot of people that might not otherwise have those opportunities to be in work, and that it’s real work.”