Getting paid to work is 'value-adding' for people with disabilities

Published: Comments:
Health & Wellness Lifestyle Sport and Fitness University & TAFE

This is an archived copy of an article. It is online for informational purposes only.
Tessa Howie & Dawn Fraser

Everyone feels valued when employed. That's according to CQUniversity Nursing lecturer from Noosa Virginia Howie, who knows all too well the impact a job can have on someone with a disability.
Virginia's daughter Tessa, who has an intellectual disability, has been employed as an administration assistant on the CQUniversity Noosa campus for the past three years.
"Like everyone, people with disabilities feel valued when employed, which improves self-esteem, self-confidence and therefore, overall health and wellbeing," Virginia explains.
"Staff at the campus are amazingly inclusive, patient and understanding across the board.
"Tessa is made to feel part of the team, and therefore she feels valued.
"As a mum I feel extremely proud of Tessa, especially when I see her building her independence, picking up new skills and contributing to our campus and the experience of our students."
Tessa works three days per week, for three hours a day, and is supported by Epic Assist employment agency, an organisation that assists people with disability prepare for and find meaningful employment.
"I like working at CQUniversity because everybody is nice to me, no-one is a bully to me," says Tessa.
"I like my job because it keeps me busy and I get paid to work, which makes me feel good."
Working as an administration assistant, Tessa's role involves collecting and delivering mail, shredding, laminating documents, restocking the tea and coffee in the student lounge and running errands for people. She also assists others in their day-to-day roles and helps in the nursing labs when asked.
"Helping others to do their jobs and saving their time at work makes me feel good."
Tessa's position at the University is also great news for both mother and daughter. "As I work full-time, and we live apart, it is wonderful to have my daughter working alongside me. It gives me the opportunity to be in touch more often," explains Virginia.
Virginia believes people with disabilities can contribute to workplaces in a number of ways.
"Evidence suggests that people with disabilities are less likely to take sick leave, and more likely to be punctual because they value their jobs.
"Those with intellectual disabilities can contribute by performing important day-to-day duties that might otherwise be missed in a busy workplace environment.
"Finally, people with disabilities improve the workplace by adding diversity, which in turn, improves workplace culture and teaches other employees about the importance of inclusivity."
As well as working at CQUniversity, Tessa is also a champion swimmer and has just been selected to represent Team Queensland in swimming at the 2018 Special Olympics Australia National Games to be held in Adelaide next April.
Tessa is one of only 240 athletes selected for the Queensland team, and is looking forward to training and competing in freestyle and backstroke, as well as a team relay event.
Special Olympics Australia (SOA) is part of a global sporting community for people with an intellectual disability. Athletes are selected for their dedication to training and competition.
Tessa trains three days per week at Cooroy under the guidance of Andrew Cowan, an elite athlete in his own right.
Tessa has achieved success previously, representing Queensland in the National Games in Melbourne in 2014. She has also represented Australia in the inaugural Asia Pacific Games in Newcastle in 2014, bringing home gold in the 100m freestyle.
Another benefit of working at CQUniversity was when Tessa got to meet Olympic legend Dawn Fraser.
"Dawn goes to the coffee shop at work and the girls in the shop introduced us. Dawn offered to have her photo taken with me to help raise funds for the competition.
"Dawn always asks to see my medals when I return from competition."
Dawn Fraser is a fan of Tessa's and has kindly donated a signed copy of her biography 'What I learned along the Way', which will be auctioned as part of Tessa's fundraising activities for Adelaide.
Tessa is busy raising funds for the $3400 Athlete Levy. A fundraising page specifically for Tessa will be available shortly via the SOA website.
This week CQUniversity is celebrating Disability Action Week, 10 – 16 September, and promote this year's theme 'Everybody has a role to play'.

CQUniversity Noosa :
90 Goodchap Street, Noosaville
07 5440 7000
07 5440 7025
CQUniversity Noosa
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
Acting roles on offer for Noosa folk who may be 'patiently waiting' 06 June 2018 | Like to dip your toe into the life of an actor? Well here's an opportunity you can take lying down. More information...
Sunshine Coast event celebrates legacy of women who championed art and the environment 01 May 2018 | The legacy of prominent female artists who were also environmental campaigners will be celebrated during an exhibition in Caloundra titled ‘Wild/flower Women II: Art, Environment and Activism’. More information...
Caloundra's culture champion on the crest of a wave 01 May 2018 | April Cunningham is heading off to a very august body in May and June. The Sunshine Coast Indigenous woman and cultural educator has garnered a Global Voices scholarship to represent Australia at the OECD World... More information...
Stories of war-time nurses brought to life in Noosa 20 April 2018 | Stories of war-time nurses will be brought to life in the lead-up to Anzac Day, with authentic costumes, an animated video and drama presentations as part of a themed morning tea at CQUniversity Noosa on Monday 23... More information...
Noosa embraces business disruption and the edu-tourism market 03 April 2018 | Winter is coming, but in terms of ‘business disruption’, CEOs and senior managers can embrace the new age, not fear it, thanks to a milestone event organised by a new brand entity. More information...
Stories of war-time nurses brought to life in Noosa 03 April 2018 | Stories of war-time nurses will be brought to life in the lead-up to Anzac Day, with authentic costumes, an animated video and drama presentations as part of a themed morning tea at CQUniversity Noosa on Monday 23... More information...
Moroccan memories expressed in a blast of colour at CQUni Noosa 26 March 2018 | CQUniversity Noosa Art Space visitor Pam Taylor's collection of paintings will express evocative memories and explosions of colour from her adventures through Morocco. More information...
News release - Noosa professor’s new book promotes validity of speculative biography 22 March 2018 | Speculative biographies may stir controversy but they can also reveal how real lives are often uncertain, contradictory and confusing. More information...
Sunshine Coast residents invited to volunteer as 'simulated patients' for CQUni Nursing 19 March 2018 | Experienced track cyclist Richie Bates recently subjected himself to realistic-looking moulage make-up, simulating road accident wounds, to help promote recruitment of ‘simulated patients’ for the CQUniversity... More information...
CQUni VC announces his departure at the end of 2018 08 March 2018 | CQUniversity’s Vice-Chancellor has today announced to staff and students that he will depart the University at the end of this year. More information...

comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service