CVGT Employment brings Grace one step closer to her dream job with assistive grooming device

Grace is a quadruple amputee, having contracted meningococcal when she was just a baby. Now 26 and fully independent, Grace spends her free time volunteering at the local animal shelter.

“Growing up with animals, I have always loved spending time with them,” Grace says.

In October 2022, Grace connected with CVGT Employment’s Disability Employment Service (DES) in Wagga Wagga, seeking support to bridge the gap between volunteering and paid employment.

CVGT Employment embarked on an extraordinary endeavour to open the door for a future career in equine care by creating an assistive grooming device tailored specifically to Grace’s needs.

The road to employment

Grace with her dog Socksy, Tegan CVGT Employment Consultant and Charles from University of Wollongong.
Grace with her assistance dog Socksy, CVGT Employment Consultant Tegan and Charles from University of Wollongong at the Wagga CVGT Employment office to fit Grace’s new assistive grooming device.

After meeting Grace, hearing her story and passion for animals, CVGT Employment got to work mapping a pathway to paid employment.

Grace needs more than just a job placement. She needs a tailored solution that will allow her to work with animals in a way that accommodates her disability.
Disability Employment Services Employment Consultant

CVGT Employment made several enquiries to different universities asking if they would be willing to develop a prosthetic and eventually connected with the University of Wollongong (UOW) through their Makerspace program.

Innovation and collaboration beyond the ordinary

UOW Makerspace is a creative space providing ‘makers’, both new and experienced, with access to tools, equipment and training.

“CVGT Employment sent an enquiry to develop a device to help Grace brush horses, a task she enjoys but was having difficulty with without an appropriate aid to help her,” UOW Biomedical Engineering Society member Charles Crisp says. 

After an initial meeting in April 2023, Tegan and Grace sent limb measurements and pictures to UOW, who got to work on designing and building the prosthetic.

Building the assistive grooming device

“The base of the prototype device was designed on computer software so that it could be attached to her upper arm comfortably with Velcro straps,” Charles says.

“A dovetail mechanism was developed so that all of Grace’s brushes could be interchanged with the base of the device.

“The assistive device was 3D printed in the UOW Makerspace. After a few iterations to develop the mechanism, the complete first prototype was fully printed.”

Charles makes sure the new assistive device is comfortable for Grace.

Fitting the final prototype

In July 2023, Charles made the four-and-a-half-hour trip from Wollongong to the CVGT Employment office in Wagga to fit Grace’s prosthetic.

I gathered Grace’s feedback to make improvements and alterations to the final design before it was printed,” Charles says,

“A liner was added for comfort and safety whilst wearing the device.”

CVGT Employment exists to open doors and create amazing futures

“Grace is so happy with the assistive grooming device, and we are thrilled that she is now equipped to groom and care for animals,” Tegan says.

This device is going to help me a lot. I can start looking for employment.
CVGT Employment Disability Employment Services participant

“As aspiring biomedical engineers, we strive to develop solutions that can improve an individual’s quality of life,” Charles says.

“This project provided valuable experience outside of the classroom, working with real people and designing assistive devices for real-world tasks.

“It is incredibly rewarding to know that our prototype will help improve an aspect of Grace’s life and consequently, her relationship with animals.”

“We are thrilled to have been the bridge between Grace and UOW,” Tegan says.

“That’s what makes what we do at CVGT Employment so special.”

Finding the right employer

Despite facing unimaginable challenges from a young age, Grace is determined not to let adversity stand in the way of achieving her lifelong dream of working. Still waiting for the right employer, with CVGT Employment’s support, Grace is studying Certificate II in Animal Care Services.

I am extremely keen to find employment and happy to give anything a crack.
CVGT Employment Disability Employment Services participant

If you are an employer in Wagga Wagga and would like to meet Grace, connect with us today on 132 848 or visit 

Connect with CVGT Employment

If you have a disability and would love help finding meaningful work, get in touch with us.

We urge all employers to consider the benefits of a diverse workforce – and we are here to help you make that happen.

Call 132 848 or visit to find out more.


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