Dwayne has a vision for a more inclusive and accessible world.
Image: Dwayne standing outdoors with short blue hair, wearing a black T-shirt.
Dwayne first started with Life Without Barriers as an Accounting Intern. It was through the Australian Network on Disability (AND) and their Stepping Into Internship program that Dwayne came across the opportunity.
“I was excited when I saw an opportunity calling for an Accounting Intern at Life Without Barriers. It felt akin to fate when I read that an organisation sharing my passion for disability advocacy, also cared to foster the talents and experience of people with disabilities,” Dwayne said.
“During my internship, I was encouraged to work at my own pace and without pressure. I quickly acclimatised to the technical challenge of the role. I required minimal workplace adjustments; my team are proudly disability confident and have always embraced the unique skills and personality I bring."
“I felt truly accepted for the first time in a workplace.”
“I’m proud to say the team has never once viewed me primarily as my disability diagnosis. These attitudes greatly increased my confidence to reach out for help and reduced my onboarding time.”
When Dwayne’s internship came to an end, a position became available, and Dwayne was encouraged to apply.
“There was strong competition for the role from some talented, experienced accountants in the local area. I’m grateful that the skills and expertise I gained during my internship, set me apart from the other candidates,” Dwayne said.
“I’m now privileged to call myself a Provisional Chartered Accountant and the Co-Chair of Life Without Barriers’ Disability Ability Wellness Network (DAWN).”
Sadly, Dwayne hasn’t always had positive experiences as a person with disability in the workplace.
“I developed my disability over five years while working for a previous employer. From the time I disclosed my condition, I felt they actively tried to disengage my employment,” Dwayne said.
“I was met with repeated requests for medical tests and disclosure letters, confirming my ability to continue in safe employment. I saw a subsequent reduction in my rostered hours leaving me without the required income to pay for my rent or basic food needs.
“Unable to maintain my minimal rent in a share-house while studying, I had to downsize and liquidate a lot of my personal assets. I was effectively forced to temporarily move back into the care of my family.
“This experience was traumatic to say the least and set my life back years. I lost a lot of hard-earned progress and time that can never be recovered. I constantly fear that I may live this experience again one day as a result.”
Discrimination against people with disability, be it overt or subtle, intentional or naive, has real-world consequences, including loss of income, possessions, relationships, even physical or mental health.
“I have sadly witnessed too many displays of ableism negatively impacting the lives of those around me.”
“I am thankful to say that my experience turned around after starting with Life Without Barriers. Providing a wholly integrated culture of supporting people with a disability, they have always been a very accommodating and respectful employer,” Dwayne said.
“I disclosed my disability at the start of my employment here and have always been met with support from those around me.”
“Life Without Barriers really does ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to actively supporting employees with disability. They have always done so for me, from the start of the recruitment process to my present maintained employment.”
Dwayne has already made strong progress in his career, positively impacting the lives and outcomes of people with lived experience of disability.
“I am constantly inspired by the work ethic and passion of peers with lived experience in disability,” he said.
“I implore all organisations to look past the disability and embrace the talent and brilliance of the individuals underneath. There is a wealth of untapped talent, insight and dedication your business may be missing out on.”
At Life Without Barriers, our doors are always open to people with disability. We are proud to be an accredited Disability Confident Recruiter through the Australian Network on Disability (AND). This means we are unequivocally committed to ensuring our recruitment and selection processes are accessible to people with disability. If you’re interested in joining our team, sign up here to receive our job alerts.
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