Meet Sharon

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Sharon smiling

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.

Sharon in a high visibility vest

APM - Sharon

Read a full transcript of this video. 

"It’s given me my self-esteem back"

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.

Sharon in the workplace

"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?

Sharon smiling

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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