Little support from disability employment services

We recently met a young lady (I’ll call her Hannah) whose story had me equally impressed, angry and baffled. Impressed by her energy, ambition and resilience. Angry that she had had so little support from disability employment services. And baffled by the red tape she has to untangle to move forward with her goals.

Hannah has been trying for over six years to get a job. I’ll write that again. Over six years. She’s been with two different support services in Hornsby, neither of whom have helped her. When Hannah talks about this she says ‘I have not had any success’. Her use of the ‘I’ pronoun shows me how alone she has felt in her job search. I call that a great big fail on the part of her so-called support services.

Thankfully, this young lady has retained her ‘can do’ attitude, and has a great family behind her. They have a plan.

Without public transport near home at Castle Hill, they all agree the best idea is for Hannah to find a job in either Richmond or Windsor – near her parents’ workplaces – and hitch a ride with them.

So Hannah and her mum fronted up to NOVA’s Richmond office, met our staff, and within the hour we were able to match her to a fair dinkum local job opportunity.

This is such a positive reflection on our Richmond team, to whom I am so grateful.

But here’s where the red tape kicks in. Hannah now has to formally request a transfer from the Hornsby service that has let her down so badly, to NOVA’s service in Richmond. Obviously this takes time and she’s worried about missing out on the job offer.

Does this make any sense to anyone? What are we thinking?

I’m all for rules that help systems to run smoothly and fairly. But the definition of a stupid rule would have to be one that disadvantages people who are already disadvantaged. Serving people with disability to find suitable work is what we’re here for.

- Martin Wren