How a mum with a disability went back to work with APM

Published on 13 Jun 2017

Michelle Wyles from Mackay isn't someone who gives up easily, and when Centrelink referred her to APM she was able to find a job that matched her skills and expertise, and suited her current lifestyle.

Michelle recently shared her story with the Daily Mercury as APM teams in Mackay aim to help 30 people find jobs with employers through a Jump Start event.

From the Daily Mercury...

Mother-of-four with disability, battles to find job

Michelle Wyles, was left to fend for herself and her four children, when a leg disability landed her without a job and in a deep slump of depression.

She said despite having a long list of relevant experience, skills and even volunteer work behind her, she wasn't able to secure a role - which is when things started to get tough.

"I had recently separated from my husband and had no income apart from Centrelink," Ms Wyles said.

"My circumstances were so bad I started to become depressed, and due to my financial situation I was in desperate need of a job.

"I thought I had no hope of getting one with my currently health problems, even though I was quite capable and have an excellent skill base and am the chairperson of Mackay Regional Suicide Prevention Network."

Ms Wyle's disabilities included a stress fracture that left her in a moon-boot for months, a joint injury, arthritis and she was awaiting knee surgery - she was constantly in pain and had limited mobility.

"I just started to look at myself and had no self confidence and esteem,” she said.

"I began to believe that I wasn't employable and question who would want to hire someone with disability issues.

"I lost all motivation and even my kids could notice it in me, I was just so down and majorly stressed about how we were going to get on.”

Ms Wyle's was referred through Centrelink to APM, a disability employment provider that works with local businesses to find jobs for those living with a disability.

APM approaches employers and explains the vast benefits of employing a person with disabilities, from their work ethic and dedication to government subsidies available.

Through APM, Ms Wyle's was able to find a job as a youth program inclusions officer at YIRS (Youth Information and Referral Service), and she said the role has changed her life.

"I went in for the job interview and within an hour I had a call back to say I landed the role,” she said.

"It was just a weight off my shoulders, and I began getting back to my old self.

"I had something to look forward to again and had pride in myself, you don't realise how much you need a job and what it means to you until you're out of one."

Throughout the month, APM will be working to secure 29 other people with disabilities in the region a job.

Spokesman Adrian Bradley said the initiative is important as people with disabilities are often left feeling socially and economical isolated, despite making excellent employees and being entirely capable.

"People with disabilities actually make some of the best employees, but unfortunately there's a perception in the community they they might not fit into the workplace well," he said.

"We work hard to match them with different workplaces and show employers the benefits involved.

"Most businesses don't realise there's plenty of subsidies for employers to help with wages and also structural adjustments if they need to be made, that and you're getting a dedicated employee, it's a win win."

On Thursday APM held a "Jump Start" evening for their endeavour to employ 30 disabled people in Mackay this month.

They invited local businesses to learn about the initiative and talk to others already involved with APM.

Ms Wyles also attended the evening to share her story and explain how employment and getting given a chance, changed her life.