Ashley is thrilled about returning to his former profession of being a truck driver thanks to atWork Australia connecting him with a supportive employer.
From Bendigo, Ashley, 48, lives with debilitating Gout, a complex form of arthritis affecting around 70,000 Australians per year.
Ashley’s health condition impacts both his hands, knees and feet and causes reduced grip strength, inability to flex the joints of his pointer fingers and reduced writing ability.
Ashley contacted the atWork Australia Bendigo office soon after his knee reconstruction. Despite also having a part of his foot amputated and starting extensive rehabilitation, Ashley wanted to continue working and was very positive about his employment prospects.
His Disability Employment Services Job Coach, Pam, led him through his journey and explained the prospect of wage subsidies for future employers. Ashley attended every appointment even when he had his last operation and kept his Job Coach regularly up to date with the progress of his recovery.
Ashley approached an Earth Moving business and was given a two-day trial to see if Ashley would be able to perform the proposed role. Ashley aced the trial and the employer offered him a part-time position.
Ashley’s employer, Andrew, is very supportive, offering flexible work arrangements and being mindful of his health condition and limitations.
Andrew says: “Ashley is remarkable. He is often trying to do more than he is able to, to the point where we have to ask him not to do some tasks.”
This is the first time that this employer has worked with atWork Australia in employing a client. The employer was eligible for wage subsidies and was pleased to accept the offer.
Due to the gout impacting his feet, Ashley required special supportive work shoes. Job Coach, Pam, assisted him in sourcing these shoes and covering the costs.
Job Coach Pam says: “After everything Ashley has been through, he is bright and happy with a great outlook on his future. He enjoys working and is doing something he loves. He is very grateful that Andrew employed him.”
Ashley was extremely happy and grateful that there was an employer willing to employ him regardless of his ongoing health conditions and he loves his current role.
Ashley adds: “I just wanted to get back to work. I know truck driving, so it was an easy decision to look for employment in this field of work.”