Getting a job is a challenging process for many people, but there can be extra layers of complication for someone who has a physical disability.
Just ask 23-year-old Parkes woman Shayla Lennox, who was born without her left hand and has had to work harder than most to master new skills and find a job she loves.
But thanks to support from not-for-profit employment, training and apprenticeships provider VERTO, Ms Lennox is on track to establishing a rewarding career in aged care, as well as taking the crucial steps to obtain her driver’s license.
“I originally wanted to get into childcare but found working with active babies and toddlers was a little too taxing with my disability, and my arm would end up being sore at the end of each day,” Ms Lennox said.
“Working with my mentor at VERTO, we quickly identified that an aged care role might be better suited to my circumstances.
“I’m now working for Niola Aged Care Home in Parkes on a casual basis and I’m really enjoying it. There is something very rewarding about working with elderly people who are at a really vulnerable time in their lives.”
VERTO provided Ms Lennox with support and guidance through the Disability Employment Services (DES) program, which is funded by the Department of Social Services.
While on the DES program, Ms Lennox established that one of her biggest hurdles to holding down a job was getting her driver’s license.
“I thought driving was out of the question due to my disability, and I lacked confidence. Thankfully, there are modifications that can be made to a car and steering wheel so that I learn to drive safely,” Ms Lennox said.
“I got my L plates a couple of months ago and VERTO is supporting me with driving lessons so I can reach my 120 hours’ practice. It’s a really important step for my independence and employment journey.”
VERTO Chief Executive Officer Ron Maxwell believes Ms Lennox’s story is an inspirational one for all job seekers, and should encourage others to seek help when they need it.
“A physical disability doesn’t have to define or limit your employment opportunities,” he said.
“It might be a matter of reframing your existing skillset or getting some training with an RTO to upskill in a different area of work.
“It's something we see every day at VERTO, and stories like Shayla’s make me so proud of what our team and our clients can achieve together,” Mr Maxwell said.
For more information on how VERTO can assist, visit www.verto.org.au or phone 1300 4 VERTO (1300 487 386).
VERTO is a not-for-profit organisation delivering a range of apprenticeship, community support, employment and training services to assist individuals, employers and industries. We can be found in more than 65 locations across New South Wales. For more information, visit www.verto.org.au.