I actually don't return to work until the 6th but couldn't pass up the opportunity on this special day to share some of the thoughts of my Taree colleague, Mrs Paule Jarvis.
Paule's been with NOVA for a while and is both an effective Employment Consultant and a powerful advocate for people with disability .
You can see her Youtube story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXe-6qDksDs
And the text from her speech (delivered today) is below.
Well done Paule, and my congratulations to everyone working to make today specially memorable.
See you Monday!
When the United Nations declared 1981 as the International Year of the Disabled, it was a very big thing for people with Disabilities, it marked the advent of a lot of changes. Disabilities had long been something people felt uncomfortable talking about.
It was not good for a person with a Disability to go out in public. Access was almost impossible, there were so many barriers. Stairs, gutters, no Disabled Taxi’s. no Disabled friendly crossings.
Actually crossing at lights was like playing Space Invaders.
To be Disabled one needed many qualities, patience, for the endless waits. People who would eventually get to you. Good sense of humor, allowing you to see the funny side of the horrified look on people’s faces after you have completed a cartwheel down some steps and landed in a heap with your dress up around your neck. Then pick yourself up, shake yourself off, actually that was to make sure your dress was back in place.
In the early days, Education was an issue. I had to leave school in 2nd Year or 9. Not because of a Disability but because we were living in an age where Education for woman was not considered important. However I loved reading and was able to continue to educate myself I decided I wanted to do Nursing. In those days high school marks were not a part of the essential criteria to do Nursing. I pestered various establishments and finally began my Nursing Career at Prince Henry Hospital. I was so proud. At 19 years of age and during my second year, I was involved in a major car accident, where I lost a leg. Then after a 2 year battle, at 21, I lost the other one. The end of my Nursing Career. It was around about this time I was diagnosed with a very rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. I was fitted with artificial legs and learnt to walk again. Then I decided I wanted to learn to drive. Drama’s again. After countless Medical Reports it was decided I may be allowed to obtain a Drivers License on the condition I was reviewed every year.
However this has not stopped me leading a full happy life. I have been a wife and mother, with lots of wonderful children that my husband and I parented, by fostering, adopting and natural means. When I was first expecting my son a well meaning Doctor advised me not to proceed. I chose to continue and my eldest son is the father of my beautiful Grand Daughter. Next time it was very hard to get me to a Doctor. People were worried how I would manage my baby but I did it my way, which took a little longer. What they didn’t understand. Children have no prejudices. They are happy wait
At a later stage my marriage broke down, I came back to NSW. I knew my options were very limited and employment would be impossible to obtain. So rather than go on a Pension I open my own business an Antique Shop in one of the Beachside Suburbs in Newcastle. After a couple of years I operated 2 shops. Than after 5 years I sold the business and brought our own home. Just myself and my sons.
An old friend offered me some reception work, which I loved, this allowed me to set in place some props to assist me do my job independently. Computers were just making an entry into the workplace. It was hard for me with my fingers, so I found a simple rubber tipped pencil allowed me to do Data Entry as good as the next person. Don’t ever tell yourself I can’t do this. Ask yourself how will I do this.
Some years later I was very privileged to meet a wonderful man. Who understood and shared my dream, a life in the country. So we eventually brought a property and moved from the city. In the rural sector it was like stepping back in time as far as attitude to Disabilities went.
I took advantage of this time and completed a bridging course into the University of New England. I took up some Disabled issues and actually became a member of their Advisory Board. My interest was accountancy. At that time I was appointed by the Administrator to oversee one of the local indigenous organizations. For a few months. This was full-time work and after 5 years I resigned due to my Health. Whilst there I was able to assist with setting up the local Taxi Company. I obtained my Taxi Driver’s Authority and drove a couple of nights a week, until they discovered I had a Disability. They took my Driver’s Authority immediately. However during that time I had been able to learn the System enough to train others, who would have never had the opportunity.
Due to my husband’s health we had to move to Forster for him to receive treatment. By now I was fully confined to a wheelchair as my back had given out.
Listening to radio one morning I heard someone talking about employment for people with Disabilities. Made me think yes I was ready to go back to work. Let’s see how good they are. I rang them, Nova Employment. A couple of months after my initial interview they offered me a job. Part time which I embraced because they followed the same values as myself. Equality in Disabilities.
Ten years later I am still a staff member, I have been able to complete my studies in Disabilities. I have able to undertake Mental Health Training to a Facilitator’s level. In a new program from America. I am an active member of the NSW Police Disability Advisory Panel. I have become a Court Advocate for people with Disabilities through the Criminal Justice Support Network. Then a very important thing for people with Disability in this area is the local Access Committee. Who have played a major role in today’s event’s.
So lastly I ask you, don’t be afraid to ask about anything you don’t understand about a person with a Disability and don’t offer boundless sympathy because we will possibly get sick of it and play on it. you see I don’t consider I have a Disability, I often make the mistake of feeling sorry for someone with a sore foot. You set your own boundaries, you can go as far as you want only you will do it differently. You will do it your way
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New Contract but no change!
New Contract but no change!
Today marks the first day of a new Disability Employment Service (DES) contract.
There are new players and new rules....
'It's nice to be busy' and 'busy is better than idle' and all of my mum's other sayings about work being good for you, and all of them said; we're drowning!
The administrative burden of a new Disability Employment Service contract (starts July 1st) and the mountains of paperwork required for an NDIS dollar (approximately 10X that of the former TTW program) has seen us add 3 extra staff to the admin team and we are still receiving a large volume of enquiries that are causing us some time delay in getting back to folk....
Podcasts I've been learning all about Podcasts (I suspect that this may be a long road!)
However, getting paid to be inspired is not the worst way to spend a Monday afternoon and that is just how my day has gone....
I am truly fortunate to work with the very best people in this great nation and we are truly lucky to be part of the best short film festival this side of anywhere!
"Focusonability" voting starts today and there is an even larger number of films (287) than last year....
On the money Sometime over the next week a new Disability Employment Service contract will be announced.
We are moving into a new world of greater consumer choice and greater mobility of job seekers....
Making a tough job tougher!
Making a tough job tougher
It isnt easy to get a decent job and its harder to do so if you have a disability.
NOVA employs around 190 people, an effective and experienced team who are able to draw upon a staff of highly skilled trainers and a support program honed over almost 30 years and tens of thousands of participants....
Your Work There was never any doubt in my mind that I would work. My dad told me I would work and there wasn't ever a suggestion that my future held an alternative option....
Not so bad! Taken from: Today's Guardian at 4.09pm Tuesday 7th November 2017:
In a world full of discouragement there’s always a space for good news....
The NDIS mantra is 'choice and control'
To be valuable, choice needs to be informed.
Average Sydney Disability Employment Services placement rates are 34....
It's voting time at "Focusonability" - with a record number of films entered, a tremendous effort by more than 100 High Schools and 19 countries competing in the International section it was always going to be a hard job to pick a winner....
Choice & Control
The NDIS slogans around choice and control demonstrate the importance of consumer involvement in both the choice and control of supports they need.
However, in order to be valuable, choice needs to be informed by accurate data such is this: http://www....
Last week (14-16) it was my privilege to attend the 1st World Supported Employment Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"Employment for All - A Global Perspective" brought workers from around the globe (primarily Europe) to discuss best practice in supported employment....
Quality and the Stars Quality and the Stars
There have probably been few people more openly critical of the Disability Employment Service (DES) Star Ratings than me.
The Stars, ranging from 1 to 5 are supposed to give some insight into whether a service is a poor or high performing program....
Attended the Disability Employment Australia (DEA) forum in Canberra. THis is a regular get together that offers disability employment services tha chance to be kept up to date from our funding body and also listed to expert speakers on topics associated with the goal of seeing as many people as possible find and keep suitable employment....
NOVAs greatest asset is its staff. I suspect you would struggle to find the CEO of any organisation state their staff are not vital and at the core of business reputation and results....
A corner turned?
We are presently holding events to promote employment for people with disability - nor surprise there, that's our job.
What has been a surprise is the willingness of employers to come along and listen and more importantly, to consider adopting inclusive employment practices across their organisations....
Say No to Quotas!
The pernicious idea that 'quota's' might be the solution for disability employment continue:
Faced with the daunting task of improving the number of employment outcomes with out sacrificing the quality of service delivered to people with disability how have we fared (sort of Year in Review II)?
The number of placements made has seriously improved - up 31% in 2015 and a further 14% in 2016, NOVA operates at at rate of placement better than 150% over 2014!
Whats really exciting is that this has been achieved without compromising on the level of disability that can be supported by NOVA's teams (if anything this has risen)....
Famous last words!
O.K. - sorry that you need to cut and paste: http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/100-million-payday-for-1anhour-staff-with-disabilities-20161216-gtcius....
Not sure if this will be my last blog post for 2016 but just in case, a quick look back at 2016:
Best ever year for total number of placements
Best ever year for long term employment outcomes
Best ever year for Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Best ever year for Transition to Work outcomes
Best ever year for media coverage
Best ever year for 'Focusonability'
Best ever year for Transition to Work (TTW)
How about 2017?
Looking good, so stay in touch and have a terrific holiday, be safe and hopefully Santa will bring you all that you wish for....