WDEA Works Warrnambool prove disability is not a barrier to finding meaningful work

At 34 years of age Angela Hewett was a fit and healthy mum, with young children, a mortgage and a successful career as a Retail Manager. Angela’s life took a dramatic turn, when she received an injury that left her with chronic pain, permanent nerve damage and having to undergo multiple spinal fusions. “As my physical condition deteriorated my mental health also suffered. I ceased employment; however, I found the financial obligations of a mortgage, 3 children, countless medical bills and daily chronic pain coupled with unemployment caused a significant decline in my mental health” said Angela.

Whilst adapting to her new way of life Angela applied for the role of Business Development Officer with WDEA Works. After countless rejections and hours spent on drafting applications, Angela had become pessimistic about the chances of getting the position.  To Angela’s surprise after the interview “I was offered the role that afternoon – it was the best day!!”

When reflecting on the recruitment process Angela said “I felt that I didn’t have to justify my transferable skills; they just got it. They were creative and welcoming. They were instantly empathetic to my needs for flexibility to see specialists and have ongoing treatment in Melbourne. This wasn’t seen as a barrier to my employment, they could see what I had to offer and that my experience with chronic pain was going to be so valuable when advocating for clients within the community.”

“It was clear Angela was the perfect person for this role. She has such a positive and outgoing attitude and her passion for advocating to create an inclusive workforce is captivating. Angela understands that meaningful employment plays a critical role in improving overall health and wellness within our community” said Trudi Perkins WDEA Works Warrnambool Site Manager.

WDEA Works Staff standing in the WDEA offIce L-R Angela Hewett, Joshua Gale, Jason Bidmade
L-R Angela Hewett, Joshua Gale, Jason Bidmade

WDEA Works is proud to set an example within the Warrnambool community and showcase the skills and talent that many people with a disability harbour. As an organisation they strive to have a diverse and inclusive workforce who can personally understand the challenges and frustrations that disability can present.

Twelve months on and Angela still lives with pain daily, but no longer experiences poor mental health from feeling like she is not contributing to her family, or community. As a WDEA Works Business Development Officer Angela is out in the community regularly, engaging with employers and advocating for jobseekers just like her. “Having open and honest conversations with employers is key to this role, people have so much to give despite what may seem like a barrier. I love nothing more than meeting with employers who understand the value in giving someone a go. Employment, income and responsibility open up a whole new world to people and this is so important in creating dignity and personal satisfaction for job seekers” explained Angela.

WDEA Works CEO Tom Scarborough says “WDEA Works is passionate about improving people’s lives and actively working with employers and jobseekers in our community to promote inclusivity. It is my personal mission to ensure that everyone who works for WDEA Works feels valued, supported and that they enjoy coming to work. Angela is an important part of our team and I am grateful she has shared her story. This will hopefully inspire others in a similar position and help employers understand the enormous value people with a disability bring to an organisation.”

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  • WDEA Works Employment division incorporates both Disability Employment Services and jobactive.
  • Disability Employment Services
  • jobactive