Tracey, Disability Team Leader at Northeast Health in Wangaratta in Victoria, continually apologises for her advocacy for people with disability – a passion that she is now paid to pursue.
“I could go on and on,“ she says. “It is my passion to keep talking about these issues.”
Tracey is profoundly deaf and her road to employment was similar to others. Employers could not see how her disability could be accommodated into their work practice.
Her job today is Disability Team Leader at the hospital. For two years before that, she was Human Resources Administration Assistant. In her new role, she is employed to raise the positivity around disability.
“My job is very varied. I offer guidance and reassurance for some employees with disabilities to improve productivity within their tasks,” she says.
“I also advocate for staff with disabilities during their interviews and meetings as issues arise. I am in contact with the families of staff with disabilities to ensure that all communication is transparent and that family members are kept in the loop. And I build partnerships with organisations in community to meet the needs of staff with disabilities which is impacting on their work.
“I am branching out shortly to build stronger school pathways for students with disabilities: compiling resources to meet the needs of students with disabilities while doing placements and traineeships.
“I also work with recruitment at the hospital to ensure that prospective employees with disabilities are given support for their interview and orientation. I also apply for work and modification assessments for the staff and liaise with all parties involved.
“Even though there are advances in technology, there is no magic wand,” Tracey admits.
“For example, I am personally trying to get voice to text recognition software on my iPad so I can take it to meetings. However not all software is perfectly capable of picking up every second word.“
Tracey says low self-esteem and what may be simple problems to others can hold back some job seekers even when there are employers interested in discussing opportunities.
“When I was looking for work, CVGT helped me with confidence building, my resume and knowing where a suitable job may be,“ she says.
“Transport can be another issue. Obviously getting to work is part of the job and if transport is not readily available or there is no family support to get to work, well that makes it difficult.”