Greenslopes Coles Team Member Eoin Gibson: Thriving with Down Syndrome

Always cheerful and ready to help, Eoin Gibson has Down Syndrome and is a familiar sight at the bakery and the fruit and vegetable section of Greenslopes Coles where he is popular among customers and fellow team members.

“It started, I’ll never forget it, with a high five as his introduction,” Coles Store Manager Darren Watt fondly recalled, saying that Eoin turned up one day and asked to see him at the service desk looking for a job.

“Straight away I could tell that there was something about Eoin that this business needed,” Mr Watt said, adding that he knew that Eoin was going to make Coles a better place, thanks to his energy and confidence.

When Eoin isn’t hard at work sorting and arranging the produce, he can be seen making cookies, or checking the stocks on the shelves. He says Coles is like a second home.

Having Down syndrome has not prevented Eoin from growing and thriving. In fact, working in an environment like Coles has helped him develop new skills, gain confidence around people, and achieve economic independence.

Eoin Greenslopes Coles Down Syndrome employee
Photo Credit: Screen capture from YouTube / Down Syndrome Australia

Seeing him at succeeding at work has also helped shine a light on people with Down Syndrome as capable contributors to society.

As part of Coles’ ongoing commitment to attract and employ people that represent the communities in which they operate and in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day (March 22, 2023), Coles is honouring its incredible team members like Eoin who help make Coles a safe and inclusive place to work.

Eoin Greenslopes Coles Down Syndrome employee
Photo Credit: Screen capture from YouTube / Down Syndrome Australia

What started as an introductory high-five during the interview has now blossomed into a four-year career for Eoin with Coles, providing his one-of-a-kind five-star service in his roles across fresh produce and the bakery.

“It is always important for people with Down Syndrome to get a job,” Eoin says, adding that working keeps him going and helps “to works your brain.” He said it is important for people with Down Syndrome to get a job and feel that they belong to a community.

Like everyone else, Eoin says he has good days and bad days. When he first started, Eoin’s challenge was building rapport with the team, mastering the everyday skills needed for his job, and learning safe work practices.

He worked very hard and was soon happy with his improvement. “We always have to keep moving on,” he says.

Through the support of his Store Manager Michael Edser, and the team at Coles Greenslopes, he is proud to be doing just that, moving forward and building his career in a supportive and inclusive environment.

“I love this team. I want to work here forever, actually,” Eoin shares.

In FY22, Coles ranked #1 for accessible Recruitment and Selections and was ranked #3 in the Access and Inclusion Index (see here for more information). Coles is also committed to providing a safe and accessible shopping experience, with 414 stores offering Quite Hour nationally.