Sharon’s journey to happiness 
with a 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.

"It’s given me my self-esteem back"

Read a full transcript of this video.

Finding the right support

Like thousands of people with disability in Australia who search for employment every year, finding a job where she was a valued member of a team, played a vital role in overcoming and managing Sharon’s health issues.

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.

“At first I didn’t know how to do a resume, so they helped with my resumes and cover letters and asked me what sort of job I wanted to do. 

“I just said I like to do anything to help people and things like that,” Sharon added.

"I feel like a new person"

A chance to prove herself

Sharon went on several interviews without any luck, often losing out to younger job seekers or people with more experience for a role.

But when she went for an interview for a cleaning role, the hiring manager immediately saw Sharon’s potential.

“I was supposed to be going there for a cleaning job but then I got told “No, you’ve got to become a porter”.

“I said yes immediately without even asking what it was.”

Sharon was hired by professional cleaning services firm Delron to work on their contract with Transway, which brought her to engaging with the passengers and crew of The Prospector.

And it’s a role where her disability is not an issue.

“It’s one of our contracts where hospitality services is really key,” said Sharon’s employer Brad.

“We get really great feedback from our staff and clients who take The Prospector about Sharon and the friendly way she’s greeting them and her engaging nature.”

Sharon says the role has transformed her outlook on life.

“It’s given me my self-esteem back, my confidence back, I feel like I’m a new person,” she said.

In 2019, APM Employment Services helped more than 60,000 people with an injury, illness or disability find a job.

APM has continued to support job seekers to find work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find out if you’re eligible to join APM’s no-cost employment support programs by registering today.

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.

Frequently asked questions

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