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Journey to happiness starts with new job
If you travel to or from Perth on the iconic Prospector, there’s a chance you could encounter Western Australia’s most-friendly train porter.
Greeting and farewelling passengers through East Perth train station, Sharon is a popular face for both travellers and rail workers.
Guiding passengers to their carriage, helping with luggage and answering any question with a welcoming smile, Sharon leaves many station visitors with a positive experience to begin or end their journey.
And for Sharon, the warm encounters with customers and colleagues is all part of the rewarding job that helped change her life for the better.
Eight years ago, an accident at work in a hospital crushed her left hand, resulting in lasting damage and restricted use of her hand.
“I can only use my thumb and index finger. I’ve only got 75 per cent use of it,” Sharon said.
In the years that followed, Sharon struggled to find another job where employers would give her a chance.
“As soon as I tell them I had an injury at work they just turn around and say: ‘you’re a liability, I don’t want to take a chance on employing you’.
And that really hurts,” Sharon said.
As well as the physical impact of her disability, Sharon also felt the weight of this new barrier on her mental health.
Finding the right support
It was through the Disability Employment Services program with APM Employment Services that Sharon was able to move forward.
As part of the program Sharon received support to find a job that suited her capacity to work and would be motivating and rewarding for her personally.
Before they started searching for jobs, Sharon worked with her dedicated Employment Consultant at APM to develop skills and confidence.
“They got my self-confidence back, got my self-esteem back, they told me never to give up and don’t feel as though you’re being a burden on anybody and don’t bottle yourself up,” she said.