Living with permanent disability can affects many aspects of your life, especially when it doesn’t look like a disability. While society expects to see visible disabilities, like a person in a wheelchair, for many Australians, there is more to their disabilities to what meets the eye.
For Shah from Bondi Junction, Ankylosing Spondylitis (fusing of bones in the spine that causes pain) and Bilateral Shoulder Pain were permanent disabilities he had been living with since 2001. In addition to this, he was experiencing issues with his eyes due to Macular Telangiectasia, a condition that causes vision loss. This meant he needed regular medical interventions to manage his eye sight.
Shah had been with multiple Disability Employment Services providers but felt he wasn’t receiving the support he needed to sustain long-term employment. This meant that he worked different casual jobs which provided little stability and disturbed his routine, affecting his mood and motivation. On top of this, he was living alone and felt isolated with little community support.
Shah was assigned to Jonathan when he came to AimBig Employment in late 2021. Based in Bondi Junction AimBig Employment office, Jonathan has a stellar reputation for supporting job seekers of all backgrounds and disabilities.
From their first phone appointment, Shah and Jonathan had clear and open conversations regarding Shah’s circumstances and his medical conditions. Shah was weary due to the previous experiences with other providers, but Jonathan’s kind and understanding nature helped enhance their working relationship, whereby Jonathan’s compassion gave Shah the courage to be honest and vulnerable.
After identifying career goals, Jonathan referred Shah to a vacancy sourced by one of our Business Development Specialists Amanda. The job was working at a local seafood supplier in a pick packing role. Jonathan helped Shah create a digital application for the role and guided him on the interview questions that they might ask. Shah passed the phone interview and was invited to undergo a medical examination, which he completed. He successfully secured the role and was ecstatic as the work schedule allows him to visit his children and attend medical appointments.
Shah now works 30 hours a week and has now been employed for over 6 months, which is the first period of long-term employment Shah has experienced for a long time. His new role involves boxing salmon into commercial packaging and preparing the items for shipping. Shah has commented on the stability and routines that the employer provides, meaning he can plan his days ahead, allowing a work/life balance.
Since commencing in his new role, Jonathan has provided ongoing support to Shah, reaching out frequently to find out how his job is tracking. In these discussions, Shah feels comfortable leaning on Jonathan for support, whether it be help with an issue or moral support.
Along with the benefits of working a rewarding job, Shah has gained his motivation and confidence back, truly believing in himself and his skills. We spoke to Jonathan about how Shah finding a job that he loves has changed his life.
“Shah has had an incredible pathway to employment. When he came to AimBig Employment, he felt lost on his journey but now he knows he can talk to me whenever he feels unsure or alone. A standout moment was when Shah told me that I was like a part of his family, and has never been able to rely on someone like that before. Providing him with emotional support has given him a safety net and built a wonderful relationship where he trusts me. I also believe he has built a great working relationship with his employer, who was understanding of his medical conditions and ecstatic with Shah’s work ethic and reliability.
I am so happy that I could assist Shah as he is truly someone that appreciates the help I provide on his journey.”