CLEVELAND resident Olivia O'Donnell has not let her intellectual disability stand in the way of living independently.
The 18-year-old has landed a job with Enhancers of Cleveland hairdressers where she helps keep the salon tidy and prepares the stylists' equipment.
Ms O'Donnell, who started work at the salon six weeks ago, said she enjoyed the perks of her new found independence.
"I like working at the salon because I get to earn my own money and I can go to the shops and buy my own food," Ms O'Donnell said.
Enhancers of Cleveland owner Phaedra White took Ms O'Donnell on board after meeting with the Myhorizon Employment and Training Office.
Ms White said she was immediately impressed with Ms O'Donnell's attitude.
"Olivia is very polite, friendly and caring and we all love having her around," Ms White said.
"I've also noticed positive changes in her confidence levels and her knowledge and skill set around the salon are also improving."
Ms White said Ms O'Donnell was a shining example of why more businesses should employ workers with a disability.
"It has been so rewarding and fulfilling to have Olivia join our team and we really appreciate her different perspective on things," she said.
"I urge more businesses to consider employing someone with a disability as it's a great contribution to the community as well."
Myhorizon employment co-ordinator Prue Saint said she saw positive changes in Ms O'Donnell.
"Olivia is becoming more confident with leaving home by herself now and also improving in her communication with other people and being able to follow a list of jobs to be done," Ms Saint said.
"All those things are getting better each day.
"It's about placing people in the right jobs with the right employers and providing them with ongoing on-the-job support and training so they have the best chance for success."