Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m from Cairns, but currently living in Adelaide. I have 4 daughters, one of whom, Rory, has spina bifida. She is 22 and living independently in Brisbane.
Her disability although not outwardly visible has many secondary problems like scoliosis, kidneys not working fully and bowel and bladder dysfunction.
Do you or any of your loved ones have any experiences with disability, mental health or illness? Has there been a time where it impacted finding or keeping work?
Myself, I work as a carer for people with disability, but I’m now going to care for the elderly in their own homes. When I was caring for a lady with cerebral palsy, Rory helped me to care for her, which was very cute as she is just as profoundly disabled as the lady in a wheelchair. People with disability caring for other people with disability. Rory even got paid for her time caring which she loved.
It’s not Rory’s having spina bifida that prevents her from working, although standing for long periods would put a terrible strain on her already crooked back. It’s more that she needs to be or feel motivated. Inspired. Excited. Not a mundane, nothing kind of job that requires no enthusiasm or joy.
Rory did get some assistance getting work at a local fast food shop at one point, which she was happy to do… But it’s not a career path she can see herself in long-term.
She loves pop culture and goes to lots of exhibitions like Supanova. Think Harry Potter, Supernatural, Buffy, Charmed (she’s met all of the stars of these shows at special events and loved it!). So, her main interests for work would be doing something in that space, like working for a place that sells merchandise for collectors. But for now, she’s looking for work, desperately hoping to get something that keeps her interested and keen to go to every day.
What made you think ‘Navnac’ would be a great name for the Can Van?
The word to me means the knack to navigate… get around… which for people with disability, is so important. It’s also Can Van spelt backwards!
What would you like to say to people with disability who may be having a hard time right now, especially those trying to find or keep a job?
The message I’d like to convey to those with disability searching for work, is that it’s OK to take a couple of steps back in order to get a good run up and leap forward.
What message would you like Navnac the Can Van to spread to job seekers with disability, their loved ones and employers?
I believe that bringing the Can Vans to the attention of the public and helping navigate people towards worthwhile employment will create greater awareness of the help that is out there that is so far untapped.
Giving people with disability a go shows that they are as worthy of respect as those who have an executive position. In turn, that will create a duty to work as a respected and trusted employee. Or to the utmost best of their capability.
You can stay in the loop with our Can Van adventures and find an event near you here.
If you or someone you know is looking for support to find or keep work, get in touch with our friendly team today.