Dominic Freestone, our talented Graphic Designer, stars in The ABC documentary 'My Story'.
A huge congratulations to Dom and big thank you for sharing your story with us and the world. Read Dom's experience and reflection on the project below.
"One of my colleagues passed on to me a call-out from the ABC looking for people with disabilities to create a short clip about disability experiences.
"I wrote a brief proposal where I pitched an idea to discuss the barriers to employment and the benefit of employing people with disability. The producers came back to me excited about my idea and wanted to go ahead with the filming.
"It was interesting seeing the documentary all come together. Alongside me, my colleague Emily Reaper, Senior Project Officer, and Darryl Sparke from Amputees NSW appeared in the documentary. We spoke about what it’s like for people with disability to enter the workforce, as well as the experience of working within organisations when you have a disability.
"This experience taught me a lot – it raised my awareness about certain aspects of disability employment and career progression beyond my personal experiences.
"For example, Darryl talked about his idea for the introduction of a disability passport that people with disability could use when they apply for or start a new job. Darryl suggests that it would outline what their disability is and what technology and modifications they would need to do their work. This is something that could be quite powerful and would make the employment experience easier for both employees and employers.
"Within the documentary, we also talked about the challenges that people with disability face when it comes to career progression; it’s often not as easy for people with disability to get work so they’re much less likely to apply for promotions or change roles and companies.
"There’s also a huge amount of financial discrimination. One woman spoke about how her daughter - who got a job through a disability employment agency - works for $2.38 per hour in a laundry.
"My advice to potential employers of people with disability is to do the work to understand that person’s disability and to make adjustments to the workplace to suit their needs.
"Don’t be afraid to ask the person about how the workplace can better suit their needs as this will only benefit both parties - we can get on with the job we were hired to do and the employer can enjoy the benefits of the knowledge and skills we bring to their organisation."
More about Dom
At 23, Dom was a diesel mechanic, in the Royal Australian Air Force before a spinal cord injury flipped Dom's life upside down.
After the accident, it took two decades for Dom to negotiate the many barriers and re-enter the workforce as a graphic designer.
While this is Dom’s story, he's the first to say the work-related barriers he's faced are not unique to him.
Dom has also written a brilliant piece comparing the COVID- 19 Lockdowns to his everyday life. My sixteen years of ‘lockdown’ - living with a disability.
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