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Jessica was searching for someone willing to give her a chance.

For years, hearing ‘no’ was a regular happening for Jessica when she looked for work.

Any job seeker will tell you that takes its toll.

When 20-year-old Jessica turned to her Employment Consultant Alysha as they walked out of an interview together, she was unsure if she had got the job.

When Alysha confirmed she had succeeded, Jessica recalled, “I cried and cried and cried.”

"I felt happy someone was willing to give me a chance"

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Read a full transcript of this video.

Not treated any differently

Jessica lives with anxiety and Cerebral Palsy, a lifelong disorder which primarily affects movement – the symptoms of which vary greatly from person to person.

She was always upfront about her disability when applying for jobs.

Many employers overlooked Jessica because they incorrectly assumed, due to her disability, she would be in a wheelchair.

While incredibly resilient, Jessica recalls how this affected her anxiety:

“I felt like no one wanted me and I would never get a job,” she said.

When her employer James met Jessica at her interview, it was clear to see she had skills which were needed at Hair Art Café in Baldivis, south of Perth City.

She made a good impression with James, who admired her strength of character – and skills as a barista!

“I believe in giving everyone a go,” James said.

“She has moments where her disability might come into focus, but it’s not detrimental, my staff treat her exactly like everyone else”.

"I believe in giving everyone a go"

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Working with confidence

Jess works in the salon café preparing hot drinks and food for clients, and also assists with some team cleaning duties.

While some of Jessica’s movement and coordination is affected by her Cerebral Palsy, she is a confident worker.

“If I have an accident and I drop a cup, I just it clean up and move on to the next job,” she said.

James praised her work ethic:

“If there’s something she needs to know, I’ll tell her, like I would tell any of my staff members – and she adheres to that and carries on with her job.”

The experience of the Disability Employment Services program by APM has been incredibly positive for both Jessica and James.

James cites the level of employer support he received, making the process of recruiting Jessica easy.

“I had a lot of support from Alysha who was very good through the whole process. The support from APM has been very good,” he said.

“I’m happy to tell people I’ve got Jess on my team – she’s great!”

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“It’s really helped my anxiety”

A lot more opportunity to come

Jessica’s Employment Consultant Alysha has been with her from the very start of her journey with APM, and she couldn’t be prouder of her.

“Jess was being judged and turned away without people getting to know her and she wasn't getting a fair chance,” Alysha recalled.

“I wanted to find someone who was willing to hear Jess’ story, and I came across James’ Hair Art Café – and he was willing to listen.”

Jessica has been reaping the positive, social benefits of work.

Alysha reflects on how Jessica’s mental health and wellbeing have transformed:

“She is a bubbly, vibrant amazing young woman – I’ve seen her thrive and she’s incredibly happy.”

“It’s really nice to get out of the house two days a week. I feel happy being busy, I feel more independent,” Jessica said.

“There’s a lot more opportunity to come, so I’m happy!”

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Are you eligible for Disability Employment Services?

You may be eligible for our Disability Employment Services program if you:

  • Have a diagnosed injury, illness or disability
  • Are aged from at least 14 to pension age
  • Are at or above the minimum legal working age in your state or territory
  • Are able to work at least eight hours per week (with support when required)
  • Are an Australian resident
  • Are not studying full time (unless you’re an eligible school leaver)
  • Are not working at or above your assessed employment capacity

You can access APM Disability Employment Services through a referral by Centrelink or by registering with us directly.

When you visit Centrelink, they carry out an employment assessment and if you are eligible, they will recommend you to a Disability Employment Services provider.

Remember to ask to join APM so you get the best service when searching for employment.

If you’re with another Disability Employment Services provider, but would like to change to APM, contact us and our teams will be happy to speak to you.

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Frequently asked questions

Who is APM?
How does Disability Employment Services work?
Who qualifies for Disability Employment Services?
What to expect
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