Patrick and APM Employment Services

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Moving forward after a lifechanging injury

Previously a business owner in the mining industry, Patrick, 43, said he had never had to search for work until after he became a quadriplegic and lost all function in his body from his neck down.

It has been 13 years since he broke his neck falling from a rope swing into a river during a hot summer’s day off work with mates.

“I drowned at the scene. I was clinically dead a few times,” he said.

“I was in ICU [Intensive Care Unit] for probably three months and in hospital for two years. When I first had my accident all I could do was wink my eye."

“I couldn’t talk and had to learn everything back again.”

Making life work again

After he learned to talk again and take greater control of his life by operating technology and tools through the use of his head, Patrick soon felt the need to keep moving forward.

He studied for several years but it wasn’t enough.

The former business owner, who had always worked and had never needed to write a resume, wanted to get back to work.

It wasn’t easy becoming eligible for employment services programs with a permanent disability.

However, after a year of letters and determination, Patrick was deemed eligible for the government-funded Disability Employment Services program provided by APM.

Patrick was able to have a specially modified workstation and voice-activated software to allow him to join the workforce.

“Sometimes I go into the city and sometimes I work from home. There was some ironing out of technical difficulties, but it worked in the long run,” he said.