After Alanna Julian left school in 2002 all she wanted was to get a job. Like many people with disability she was encouraged to do volunteer work to build up her skills and get some experience, but as Alanna discovered there’s a point at which a person really should be paid for the work they are doing.
After I left school I did a few TAFE courses but the one thing I wanted more than anything else was a job. I have spent many years either doing courses or volunteer work. I didn’t mind this too much and to some extent it did get me out of the house and into the community where I could make social connections. However, I still had a strong desire to be employed. With volunteering sometimes there was a promise of a job but after four years at one particular place it became obvious that a paid position would not be forthcoming.
There are many benefits to volunteering. I discovered my strengths and the kind of work which brought me the most fulfilment, like when I taught people with disabilities art and craft. I really enjoyed it. I also like using computers and found my passion for public speaking.
In 2014, I became involved with an organisation called ‘My Choice Matters’ which is helping people with disability prepare for the changes happening with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I participated in their programs, spoke at their workshops and learnt how
to use Power Point for presentations. With support I also ran information stalls for MCM. These activities helped build up my confidence and skill base to the point where I became employable. Three months ago all my hard work paid off and I was employed by MCM on a casual basis as a co-facilitator.
From personal experience of having a disability I understand that gaining employment is not an easy road. I have an intellectual disability and Attention Deficit Disorder but I also love to work and have provided advice to others below on how to get the job you want.
* Think about what career or work interests you.
* Make a list of what you know your strengths to be and what you are passionate about. If you are not sure don’t be afraid to ask someone what they see in you.
* Find a workplace that suits your interest, strengths, and passion.
* Be open about your disability and what supports you may need.
* Ask for a trial of volunteer work but set a time period.
Overall, I think the key is finding the right place and person to give you a fair go. One-on-one support from a job agency for example could also be useful to gain skills and independence.