Keying their Way to Success
FOR Jayne Armstrong and Ryan McDonald, persistence and sheer hard work have proved priceless to their employer, Australia Post.
Both aged 27, Jayne has short stature and Ryan has spina bifida. They were employed at Australia Post’s Video Coding facility in Blacktown in February 2007.
Having previously worked in website design and administration, Jayne has qualifications in MYOB, health administration and information technology. Her career aspirations are to work in medical reception but she is developing new skills at Australia Post.
This is Ryan’s first job. He completed a Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) and Master of Arts (Communication, Media and Culture) from the University of Western Sydney. Ryan also writes film reviews for several movie and entertainment websites in his spare time.
Both found out about the positions through Jobmatch, a free employment service for people with disabilities.
“They can enquire about jobs for you and get feedback and they can help you too,” Jayne said of Jobmatch employment advisors.
“They certainly knew what I was specifically after,” Ryan said.
In order to gain a permanent part-time position, Jayne and Ryan needed to be coding 1900 images an hour. Initially Jobmatch provided on-the-job training and Australia Post offered a mentoring program with flexible training, to assist Jayne and Ryan get up to speed. Jobmatch provided an occupational therapy assessment to ensure that the workplace was safe, however, the office was already accessible by lift and the desk and chair heights were adjustable.
Both Jayne and Ryan are performing so well that they will soon be tested for permanent positions. Supervisors Tracey Whilesmith and Kim Chheang say both workers have had a positive impact on the workplace.
“I’ve been helping to train the guys,” Tracey said. “Once they are over a certain speed we are hoping to get them permanent positions. Their attitude is fantastic. If everyone worked like them it would be great. They really enjoy coming to work. There are no other hassles, they just get in and do it. The other staff have all made them feel welcome. There has been no negative feedback; if anything it makes people more aware [about the abilities of people with disabilities]. They are good role models”.