Returning to the work force two years ago was a big step for Michael Taylor.
He had been an electrician by trade until a hit-and-run motorcycle crash in 2003 left him in a wheelchair.
“To go back into that field as a T3 paraplegic, I couldn’t do,” he said. “About 15 years down track, my daughter had grown up and I was getting ready to do something, I just didn’t know what to do.
“I had things in my pocket I had done for years like working with not-for-profit groups. Helping others was appealing.”
Mr Taylor works as a disability employment consultant at CVGT and finds great satisfaction in helping people with a disability find work and reach their goals.
“Helping people with a disability to find employment was really appealing to me,” he said. “I have been there just of two years now and it’s really rewarding.
“It’s challenging, there’s a lot you have to cover, get over and maneuver around but it’s super rewarding when it all comes together and your client is going well and they’re moving forward.”
Thursday is the International Day of People with Disability. Mr Taylor said it was important to acknowledge people with a disability.
“It’s quite a significant day and a big step forward to bring people of all disabilities together and be acknowledged,” he said. “Nine out of 10 times, if you give a person with a disability an opportunity, they will show how keen and dedicated they are.”
Helping Mr Taylor is his furry friend Spike. Spike has been important to Michael’s clients, who find him as a relaxing and positive influence in stressful or anxious times.
“Spike goes everywhere with me,” Mr Taylor said. “He helps my clients. If they come in after an average or bad day, they pat Spike and he makes a massive difference. He’s always happy and it makes my clients look forward to seeing him.
“It breaks the ice. While giving Spike a pat, we are having a chat and getting to the root of the problem or issue and they feel more relaxed.”
Mr Tayor said he was lucky he had such a supportive family and was able to work with such a good team at CVGT.
“It was a big step for them to take on somebody who hadn’t worked (in that field),” he said. “It hasn’t been without its challenges but I enjoy going to work, which is a good thing.”
Article by Chris Pedler and is reproduced with permission from the Bendigo Advertiser.