True Stories: Tina Whiffen – Working it out

Tina-2I actually stumbled upon working with people with a disability in my first career. I’d just finished my Bachelor of Science university degree and was working as a horticulturalist in Welby Garden Centre  in the NSW Southern Highlands. Welby ran a sheltered workshop for people with a disability via Challenge Southern Highlands. In addition to honing my own horticultural skills, I helped train the people with a disability. I loved it.

Despite this, I continued my work as a horticulturalist in a few different places and eventually moved back to my hometown of Bega. It was here I realised that there was more to the world and I remembered the joy I experienced when working with people with a disability at Welby. I saw a job advertised as an Employment Consultant at WorkAbility, a service of The Disability Trust, and thought that would be a great opportunity to rekindle the feeling I had at Welby and to make a difference.

As an Employment Consultant, I help people with a disability and mental health diagnoses find jobs. My Certificate 4 in Workplace Training and Assessment  is crucial to my role – it helps me to determine what roles suit people best and assess what supports they need in the work place. Plus, it means that more often than not, I can actually provide the training.

I have a caseload of around 28 clients, each with varying needs and interests and I’m responsible for finding them a job that marries their skills, abilities and likes. I focus on a client’s strengths to find the right job for the right person, which can often mean looking at whatever challenges or barriers are standing in that person’s way and devising a way around it.

Here in the WorkAbility office, we have a ‘Getting a Job Dance’ that each Employment Consultant does when one of their clients gets a job. Our team is great and I think sometimes we’re more excited that we’ve helped get someone a job than the actual person with a disability. With the highs, there are the lows. It is so hard to hear when a client doesn’t get a job. But we all just brush ourselves off and try again because people with a disability want to work and they want to prove it to the world. So many people think that people with a disability can’t contribute to society. But they can – and they get so much out of it. They want to contribute to society just like everyone else.

Thinking of changing your career like Tina? Then discover how it is possible here.

Tina Whiffen

Employment Consultant 
WorkAbility, a service of The Disability Trust 

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carecareers

carecareers is a not-for-profit recruitment initiative aimed at increasing attraction and retention within the community care and disability sector. Our jobs board www.carecareers.com.au has expanded to meet demand for an Australia wide platform for a broad range of roles within the community sector.

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