Scott breaks down barriers in new role

Fri 27 January 2017

Father of four, Scott Priest, 40, started his career as an apprentice mechanic. Following a knee injury he retrained as a computer technician and spent 15 plus years working in the car industry in roles from Roadside Assistance Coordinator to Service Manager.

Recently Scott started in a new role, with Life Without Barriers as a Disability Support Worker. The position involves supporting people with disability who are living in group homes. It is a big change but Scott describes it as the best job he has ever done.

“Out of all the jobs I have had, this is hands down the best work I have ever done. The level of care required differs and the people I work with have a range of different disabilities, including autism, Asperger’s, Down’s Syndrome, and mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar.”

His role is part of an innovative program called High Growth Jobs Talented Candidates (HGJTC) that matches skilled workers with disability with employers looking for candidates to fill roles in high growth areas. The aim is to create sustainable employment outcomes by matching the right candidate to the right role.

Scott feels that his own life experiences help him to easily connect with the people he cares for.

“I have experienced mental health issues in the past, so I know what it is like. I think it is a real advantage for me. I have successfully come through the other end of it,” said Scott.

The Australian Network on Disability worked with Life Without Barriers to support managers to improve their confidence to recruit and work with people with disability.

“My disability employment service ORS, suggested the role to me. I thought ‘no way’ at first but after attending an information session in Tuggerah, and meeting some of the people I knew my skills could be transferred,” said Scott.

As part of the process Scott attended a four-day pre-employment training co-run by the Australian Network on Disability, ORS Group and Life Without Barriers.

Day to day Scott supports the people he works with to get on with their daily life, get out and about and attend day programs.

“I’m totally proud of where I am now. I get a great a great sense of accomplishment making a difference to these guys. It’s a great feeling,” he said. “I’m doing some training and studying for a Cert IV in Community Services: Disability. Geoff my employment service consultant at ORS has been outstanding. He is still supporting me and making sure I have everything I need. I’m very happy.”

HGJTC is an initiative of NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). It is being delivered by the Australian Network on Disability. Social Ventures Australia provided the growth industry research and is undertaking the evaluation.

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