If you are contemplating going back to work in your previous job, your Occupational Therapist can assist in liaising with your employer to advise on any modifications that need to be undertaken to make the workplace accessible for you.
It may be that you are unable to work in the job you did before your accident. In this instance you can seek advice from an agency that specialises in assessing and retraining people following injury to get them back into the workforce. The Australian Government has over 200 contracted providers that can assist you with Disability Employment Services (DES). For further information go to deewr.gov.au/disability-employment-services and http://disabilityemployment.org.au.
The three basic criteria to be eligible for a DES program are that you must:
- have a disability, injury or health condition that impacts on your ability to get and/or keep a job
- be aged between 14 and 65 years
- be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
Once you have selected an employment agency they will interview you for a vocational assessment (ie skills, education, interests, preferences) and will then refer you to an Occupational Therapist for a functional capacity assessment (how your condition affects your physical capacities). You will then be matched to a suitable job opportunity, and the Agency will organise funding for any workplace modifications that need to be done (eg ramps, bathroom modifications, desk height).
If it is decided that you need some additional training to improve your skills in a chosen area of work the DES Employment Agency can provide training in resume writing, interview skills and communication at work. They can also organise workplace experience, traineeships, TAFE and volunteering. The aim is to assist you to find a job match that will enable you to get and keep a job in the long term.
Paraplegic Benefit Fund (PBF)
The Paraplegic Benefit Fund is involved with education and awareness training about spinal cord injury for workplaces and schools. This involves presentations by people with a spinal cord injury about how their accident happened and how it has affected their life. Presenters with a spinal cord injury who are confident public speakers (or who are interested in being trained in public speaking) should contact PBF tel: (08) 9388 3366 www.pbf.asn.au.