Meet Patrick

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Patrick's moving forward after a life-changing injury.

When Patrick’s customers give feedback about his service, they often praise his empathy and passion for the job.

The telco salesperson takes great pride in knowing everything about the products and services his company provides and meeting the needs of every phone, NBN and air conditioning system customer he speaks to.

Impressed by his dedication to the work, Patrick’s customers have no idea he is doing everything from a modified workstation with voice-activated software while sitting in an electric wheelchair.

They also don’t know how valuable and life-changing a job is for Patrick.

“It’s given me a lot more independence. Just going to work I feel like I’m participating in the community and doing what I need to do. It’s changed a lot in my personality and my life” he said.

Read a full transcript of this video. 

"It’s changed a lot in my personality and my life"

The day everything changed

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.”

The inspiration to keep going

It was during his recovery in hospital he found the drive to move forward and keep going. The sensation of his first shower months after being pulled from the river was a significant moment.

“Because you’re bandaged up, you’re so hot and all you can think about is being nice and cool. The water was just exhilarating,” he said.

But it was the day he couldn’t use the special shower trolley that had the biggest impact during his hospital recovery.

Only able to communicate through facial expressions, Patrick’s nurse saw how upset he was when she said he couldn’t have a shower that day, so she put him in a wheelchair and took him to see why they were unable to use the special equipment.

It was then he saw another patient - a teenage girl whose injuries were so bad she had spent the last five years living in the ICU.

“That was a reality check for me,” he said.

“That was a really severe accident. For me it’s bad… but it’s not that bad. I’ve still got my brain.

“I used her as my inspiration to move forward,” he said.

"Sometimes people see what’s just in front of their eyes and they don’t really see what a person can do"

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

“It was very weird to come back after so many years, especially with a disability,” he said.

“I didn’t know about applying for jobs anymore and I don’t remember ever having to write a resume. APM deals with this every day so it was good to get the ins and outs.

“When I was offered a job, I spoke to APM about what can we do – can we get equipment or other stuff - because I didn’t know how it was going to work.

“They looked up all the work modifications and how to get them done.”

A new job and a new purpose

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.

Ahead of this year’s International Day of People with Disability, dedicated employee Patrick said having a job transformed his life and he urges employers to go beyond what they see to reap the benefits of hiring people with disability.

“Sometimes people see what’s just in front of their eyes and they don’t really see what a person can do,” he said.

“It’s not only boosting the morale and the independence of the person with a disability, but there’s so much on offer from the employment service providers like APM, like the funding for workplace modifications and wage subsidies.”

Frequently asked questions

Who is APM?

APM is the largest provider of Disability Employment Services in Australia.

With more than 500 locations across the country we help more people into work than anyone else.

We know how hard it is to find work when you’re facing other challenges. We don’t just want you to find a job, we want to help you change your life for the better.

When you come to APM we get to know you so we can help you get the support that’s right for you.

We help you set realistic goals and keep you focused on finding a job that works for you.

There’s a job out there for you.

Let’s go find it.

How does Disability Employment Services work?

Disability Employment Services (DES) is an initiative by the Australian Government to help people with an injury, illness or disability find and keep a job.

This can include helping people to:

  • manage health issues that may be making it hard to get work
  • identifying their strengths and work capabilities
  • developing skills for jobs and being part of a workplace
  • succeed when they start a new job with further information and support

APM is Australia’s largest contracted provider of Disability Employment Services and we deliver support programs to eligible people across the country.

Who qualifies for Disability Employment Services?

You can join APM for Disability Employment Services through Centrelink.

When you visit Centrelink, they carry out an employment assessment and if you're 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.

To be eligible for Disability Employment Services, you must be:

  • An Australian resident aged from at least 14 to pension age
  • Receiving an income support payment, disability support pension, an NDIS participant or an eligible school leaver
  • Able to work between eight to 30 hours per week (with support when required)
  • Not studying full time (unless you’re an eligible school leaver)
  • Not already working at or above your assessed work capacity

If you're already receiving an income support payment, you can also register with us directly.

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

What to expect

When you register with APM for Disability Employment Services, we will contact you to confirm your eligibility and invite you for your first appointment.

You will get a local employment consultant who knows the employers, businesses and job opportunities near you.

They will listen to you and build a plan that takes into account your health, personal circumstances, interests and any skills or experience you may have.

Your plan will be unique to you and include steps to help with:

  • building your confidence
  • writing your resume and job applications
  • searching for suitable jobs with potential employers
  • preparing for interviews
  • access to services to manage health issues or barriers to work

With APM, you get the support, you get the skills and you get the rewards of having a valuable job.

Already with another provider?

Don’t miss out on a program made just for you, by one of Australia’s best-rated providers.

APM has some of the highest job placement rates in the country.

You can transfer to your nearest APM team in three easy steps:

  1. Call the National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260
  2. Ask to transfer to APM
  3. Accept our invite to your first meeting

Join the thousands of APM job seekers who change their lives every year by finding valuable employment.

Find your nearest APM location

APM is Australia's largest provider of Disability Employment Services and we have more than 500 locations nationwide.

You can find your nearest APM team on our Find Us page.

Speak to us about opening your door to employment