Focusing on people’s abilities the key to finding great employees

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Home > Media > News > Focusing on people’s abilities the key to finding great employees
Focusing on people’s abilities the key to finding great employees
BlueLine Employment Consultant Anj Penneyston (left) & client Lee Thurlow

Like most people living with disability, Lee Thurlow is keen to be seen for what she can do rather than what she can’t do.

Currently seeking work through BlueLine Employment, Ms Thurlow who uses a wheelchair due to quadriplegia, has a very successful work history and wants more employers to open their minds to including people living with disability on their staff.

“We are just normal people - a lot of people in wheelchairs work,” she said.

“When I was working I would often get a shock reaction from people when I told them [I had a job].”

And while the added income was handy, being employed was not about the money.

“Working keeps your mind active and you feeling a bit more like a contributor to society,” Ms Thurlow said.

Working had also been a great source of friendship and social interaction for her.

Looking for part-time office administration work, Ms Thurlow said she had many skills to offer.

She said while finding employment could be more difficult for people with disability, it gave her a great sense of achievement when she was employed.

“We all go to work for the same things, it’s just a bit more difficult for us, so that’s more satisfying [when we gain employment],” Ms Thurlow said.

A Disability Employment Service of the Archdiocese of Hobart funded by the Department of Social Services, BlueLine Employment’s main role is to support people with disabilities to gain and keep employment.

It also supports employers and focuses strongly on finding the right fit for both employer and client.

An organisation which lives by its own ethos, half of BlueLine Employment’s own staff members also live with disability.

BlueLine Employment Consultant Anj Penneyston said it made sense for employers to consider hiring staff living with disability.

“Twenty-five per cent of Tasmanians have a disability, so that’s one in four people you deal with everyday that have some sort of disability that you don’t know about,” she said.

While some employers were hesitant to take on employees living with disabilities, Ms Penneyston said many supports were available to those who did, including funding for workplace alterations, staff training in disability and a supported wage scheme agreement which matched wages to productivity.

Ms Penneyston said the major benefits of working were the same for everyone.

“It’s about the social interaction, the worthiness, the reason to get out of bed of a morning - the same reason we all go to work, it’s no different,” she said.

For more information contact BlueLine Employment on (03) 6223 2622.