Tough-tackling Titan Keegan Hipgrave has been to more than his fair share of community functions since signing with the Gold Coast.

But the injured forward knew of the special significance and importance of today’s appearance at the opening of the new Coles store at Palm Beach.

Keegan and his Gold Coast teammates have provided invaluable support to football assistant Ethan Sloane. Today Aaron Bathgate, who also has Down syndrome, secured his very first job at the Palm Beach store.  

“Aaron got his first job here I believe, so he’s going to go around and try all the different departments and see which one best suits him, so yeah it’s all very exciting,”  Keegan said.

Eighteen-year-old Aaron, who graduates from Mudgeeraba Special School, is excited by the opportunity and looking forward to spending time in the bakery section.

“I am going to be working at Coles in Palm Beach, I am really happy to be working at Coles,” Aaron said.

Store Manager Dale Hart has been working with Support Mates Australia, an NDIS-registered business founded by former Titans staffer Tyler Murphy, to ensure Aaron’s transition into the work force is a smooth one.

“I couldn’t be prouder to have him on, and through Support Mates as well – so happy to have Aaron on board with us,” Dale said.

The Palm Beach Coles has been quick to engage the local community, handing out fruit during this week’s Titans school holiday clinic, and Dale today throwing her support behind the Titans Community Kick-In campaign, which is being in partnership with 102.9 Hot tomato.

“Just giving back to the community, that’s important for myself and my team,” Dale said. “We are very family orientated, and bringing community back inside the store. So a $1500 donation to Kick-In, I mean, we couldn’t pass that.”  

Aaron starts working in-store tomorrow morning. You can keep track of his progress with updates on titans.com.au.