Dom finds his wings in an inclusive workplace

26 November 2020

Resident graphic designer Dom Freestone brings an array of talent, creativity, ambition and experience to work every day.

Image: Dom with the Head of the Faculty of Education at The University of Newcastle.

Dom is best known for his creative flair, can-do attitude and the unique perspective he offers from where he sits.

Working as a graphic designer is not a job Dom ever dreamed of doing before breaking his neck in a diving accident that left him with quadriplegia.

Before his accident, he was working as a Ground Support Equipment Fitting Engineer for the Royal Australian Air Force, which was no longer possible, so he decided to upskill.

After completing his Bachelor of Visual Communication Design, he then set his sights on landing a job. Only to discover finding an employer who didn’t judge him on his appearance instead of his skills proved difficult.

Image: Dom with his father Trevor in front of the Sydney harbour bridge.

But Dom hasn’t let false assumptions define him or stop him from realising his creative ambitions in life. Instead, he’s turned his personal tragedy into triumph.

Two years ago, Dom applied for an internship at Life Without Barriers, which he now looks back on as a defining moment in his career.

“From the day of my first interview to when I was offered a job, I knew I had found an employer who saw me for my true value and not my disability,” he said.

Finding a supportive employer who encouraged him to realise his talent and creativity through professional development has helped him find profound satisfaction in his working life.

“One of the best parts of my job is the diversity of design requests I get ranging from print to digital and even TV commercials. From this, I’ve gained valuable exposure to design skills and branding on large-scale national projects.

“What I love most about working for Life Without Barriers is the opportunities I get to enhance and improve people’s lives in meaningful ways, which I find personally fulfilling,” he said.

Even small things like workplace adjustments that allow him to perform at the same level as all his colleagues can mean the difference between getting a job request done or getting it done well, and says: I’ve come to know, now I can do my job just as well as any able-bodied person in a supportive and inclusive workplace”.

“I encourage others to see beyond social stereotypes about people with disability, understand what the barriers they face and help them overcome them.”

Image: Dom Freestone - self portrait

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