Tony has pride in his work

Sharon Kemp | Bendigo Weekly | 17-Nov-2017

Tony Mertz loves his job.

TONY Mertz has a once-removed relationship with the Hawkei that Thales is making for the Australian Defence Force.

At the Eaglehawk Recycling Centre, his job is to break down the wooden crates in which parts for the expensive and high-tech protective vehicle arrive at the Bendigo factory.

The partnership between the defence vehicle manufacturer and ERC has kept Mr Mertz, who has an intellectual disability, in a job for more than five years.

“I love this job,” he said, adding that he was proud of being part of the recycling industry.

“This business is really good for the locals.”

Related: Waste turns to a profit.

It is also designed to be good for employees, according to chairman Leon Scott.

The centre was started to be a source of sustainable employment opportunities at a time when the unemployment rate in Eaglehawk was more than 10 per cent.

“We spend a fair bit on training each year,” Mr Scott said.

“We like to overtrain employees so there is a chance that they will move on.

“We can upskill them and they can move on. 

“That gives us a chance to employ another person.”

The same set of values also applies to the companies ERC works this, such as the second-hand dealers and businesses that deal down the processing process with its bulk recycled material.

“Our thing is to recycle and sell on, so that our clients can make a dollar too,” Mr Scott said.


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