Living with amputation and looking for work? Get information about returning to work, starting a new career and accessing support in this guide to jobs for amputees.
About amputation and employment
Amputation means the removal of all or part of a person's arm, hand, leg or foot. There are many reasons why an amputation may be done, including:
- Not enough blood supply to the limb
- Severe infections
- Serious injuries or deformities
Whether it’s a congenital limb difference, or the result of illness or injury, amputations and limb loss will affect everyone differently.
Recovering from an amputation can take time and it's important to have support along the way.
Living with an upper limb amputation or a lower limb amputation may affect a person's day to day life, including their work. With the right support, people living with an amputation can succeed in the workplace and thrive in their job.
Returning to work after an amputation
Most people return to work after an amputation. In fact, many people find that working has a positive effect on their life. On top of the financial benefits, work can give you a sense of purpose and help you connect with other people in a meaningful way.
Some people may return to their current job, while others may look for a new role that better suits their needs and capabilities.
Returning to the same job
Depending on the type of job you used to have, you may be able to return to the same job. Your employer may provide workplace adjustments to help you manage in your job role.
Changing job roles
For some people, continuing in the same role may be too challenging. In some cases, it may be possible to stay in the same workplace or company, but in a different, more accessible role.
For example, a plumber who has a lower limb amputation and can no longer use their plumbing tools or access certain work sites to do their job may be able to work in the same company training apprentices. Or their employer may give him an office based customer service role where they can use their plumbing knowledge to help get more sales for the company.
Choosing a new career
After an amputation, some people may choose to look for a new job that is more suited to their physical capabilities. They may view their amputation as an opportunity to reassess their life's direction, including their career pathway.
Choosing a new career
When looking for a new career, it is important to think about what types of jobs will be a good fit for you. Start by asking yourself:
- What am I interested in?
- What am I good at?
- What experience do I have?
- What skills, training and qualifications do I have?
- What are my limitations and challenges?
You may be able to get some jobs with your current skills and qualifications, while other jobs may require further training.
When brainstorming career pathways, it can be helpful to talk with an employment consultant. An employment consultant from APM can help you:
- Discover your strengths
- Brainstorm job types that you may not have considered
- Access further training to help you become more employable
- Search for suitable job opportunities
- Write resumes and cover letters that show your skills in the best light
Jobs for amputees – How to find job opportunities
There are many ways to find job opportunities including:
Talking to your network and people you know
Many jobs are filled through personal recommendations. Tell the people you know that you are looking for work and use websites like LinkedIn to help you find job opportunities.
Looking on job search websites
Many employers post job ads on job search websites like Jobsearch, Indeed and Seek. You can use keywords, job titles and skills to search for suitable job opportunities. You can also set up email notifications if a new job that fits what you're looking for is posted.
Contacting companies you want to work for
If there is a particular company you want to work for, you can approach them directly and ask if they have any job openings. When cold pitching to employers, make sure you are prepared to explain why you'd be an excellent addition to their workplace.
Disability Employment Services
Disability Employment Services is a government funded program which helps people living with injury, illness or disability to find and keep a job. If you are living with an amputation, you could be eligible.
Preparing for job interviews
A job interview is your opportunity to show an employer why you would be ideal for the job. In a job interview, you should focus on the skills, experience and qualities that will make you an asset to the workplace.
Employers may not understand what working is like for an amputee. In the interview, take time to explain how you will manage in the workplace and assure the employer that you can perform the job to a high level.
For more information about preparing for job interviews, check out APM's job interview tips.
Succeeding in the workplace
Whether you are starting a new job or finding it challenging to keep up with the demands of your current job, support is available to help you succeed in the workplace.
In Australia, employers are legally required to make reasonable accommodations for their employees. Your employer may be eligible for funding from the government to provide workplace accommodations.
Job accommodations may include:
- Making changes to the workplace so that it is more accessible. For example, installing automatic doors or creating more space for wheelchair access.
- Providing a car park close to the entry.
- Providing an adjustable desk and ergonomic equipment.
- Changing the position of the workstation to be more accessible. For example, placing the workstation closer to the bathroom facilities.
- Installing simple-to-use handles and locks where possible.
- Providing computer and phone technology to make them more accessible. For example, special keyboards for one handed typing or a tracking ball instead of a mouse.
Where to find support when looking for jobs for amputees
If you are living with amputation and want to find work, APM is here for you. Our employment consultants can assist with everything from career advice to finding work opportunities and accessing workplace support to help you do your job well.
Register for Disability Employment Services with APM today and let's get to work.