Shivakumar, known as Shiva, 34, from Schofields (NSW), lives with disability, injury and multiple health conditions. Shiva was referred to atWork Australia’s Disability Employment Services program by his Case Manager from Western Sydney Mental Health Unit who provide co-servicing of their clients, to achieve their goals and improve quality of life.
Shiva has been receiving support since 2017 as he lives with social anxiety, concentration limitations and cognitive/neurological impairment which are the result of a traumatic brain injury. Shiva is also autistic.
Shiva’s brain injury has contributed to his difficulties with learning new tasks, maintaining learned tasks and understanding or following instructions. Being autistic also contributes to the difficulties he has, like coping with workplace stress and pressure, concentrating on work tasks and interacting with others in the workplace.
When Shiva joined atWork Australia he was not motivated to work and didn’t show enthusiasm. This put him into periods of depression.
He was introduced to his Job Coach, Abigail, who spent a few hours per week working with Shiva, in partnership with the Western Sydney Mental Health Unit, to provide support for Shiva. Together they navigated disability related information from the Government, found the right pathway through Centrelink to set up payments, set out realistic goals and employment expectations, worked on transferable skills to fulfill employer’s needs, worked on understanding unnoticed capabilities and assisted with building confidence and achieving mental wellness.
Abigail worked with various stakeholders collaboratively, such as Shiva’s mum, his Case Manager and NSW Health, to obtain suitable and sustainable employment. Abigail worked closely with Shiva and his mum to update his resume, working together on job applications, contacting employers and preparing him for job interviews.
Abigail had contacted the Disability Workforce Coordinator, Kate, at NSW Health and started the conversation about Shiva. Abigail and Kate worked together to understand the level of support Shiva would require.
Abigail said, “I was able to see Shiva’s potential and provide the required support, guidance, connections and direction. This helped Shiva gain a sense of security, support, purpose, happiness and confidence to keep achieving and reaching high.”
It was important for Shiva to find work with the right employer. Shiva had been unable to find employment in the past and this role with NSW Health is his first job. Thus, Abigail worked with NSW Health to provide more education about autism and working with autistic employees.
Shiva was excited when he found out he had the job as an Administrative Support Officer with NSW Health, assisting with mask-packing; he was eager to start his journey. It has made a positive impact on Shiva’s life. He is in a job that has progression, is challenging, has the right support and is something he really enjoys.
At first, Shiva struggled with his new employment. There was a period of change and adjustment that Abigail was there to support him with. He was buddied up with a few colleagues until he became more confident in the role.
Abigail was also able to transition Shiva’s work to the quieter areas of the hospital where it was not so chaotic. Three-months after mask-packing slowed down, atWork Australia worked with NSW Health to transfer Shiva to another suitable role which suited his capabilities. Shiva has been employed with NSW Health for over a year.
Kate said, “Shiva has a savant-like gift for being able to name the day of the week that any date in history falls on within a matter of seconds. Keeping our staff, patients and visitors safe is so important and we are very lucky to have Shiva part of our new team to join our workforce and perform this laborious task.”
Shiva respects that the right support was available and delivered by atWork Australia to get him into suitable employment. Shiva feels proud to be working in the community and finishes his shifts feeling motivated, confident and has a sense of belonging.
atWork Australia were able to use disability specific interventions in the form of moderate workplace modifications to assist Shiva in achieving and excelling his work capacity and full potential. Shiva’s story really shows the power of community services collaborating, driving even better outcomes for our shared clients.
Every year, atWork Australia helps thousands of clients like Shiva expand their skills and qualifications to help them gain the right job with the right employer. Call us today on 1300 080 856 or enquire online to find out how we can help you meet your career goals.