Claire Mitchell


My role at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital School is an administration officer assistant.

So I've been here for six years. It's improved my life in lots of areas.

I feel extremely proud to have a real job, being part of a team, because teamwork is everything, gives everybody a purpose to get up every day, and it's always good to be like everybody else.

I am the chair of the Queensland State for the Down Syndrome Advisory Network.

I am involved in meetings on the Australian board.

The best advice I would give you is communication - no-one knows exactly what you're thinking until you actually tell them.

I'm the acting principal of Lady Cilento Children's Hospital School. Claire's role is an administration assistant.

I describe her as 'sunshine'.

She comes in. She is so enthusiastic about being at work.

She greets everyone with a big voice in the morning, saying hello, greeting people.

And that's a lovely role model for everyone to come to work each day with a really positive and happy attitude.

I think Job Access will be of great benefit to employers looking to employ someone with disability.

They know what the person's skill set is and they can match that to the workplace so that it makes a whole smoother process.

I think Claire has grown a lot in her position and I think the work throws up some new challenges for Claire every day.

Sometimes things change and it does build in flexibility and resilience too.

We are a diverse community and everyone has talents and everyone can do different jobs, and it's that differentiation that we value.

Having a work life, I think, is very important because everybody needs to feel that they can work and work to the best of their ability.

Capable. Sociable. Employable.

Claire Mitchell, Office Administration Assistant at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School.

“It’s very important for people with Down syndrome to have a job. Just like anyone else, “ says Claire Mitchell.

“Being a part of the team, meeting new people and being helpful makes me excited to get up each day.”

Claire is an Office Administration Assistant at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School, and she has Down syndrome. She is capable. She is sociable. And, she is employable.

For an employer, it’s important to know that a potential employee will integrate well with your other staff. For Jane Backhaus, Deputy Principal at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School, Claire has not only fit in, she is a ray of sunshine in the office every day.

“Claire brings a different perspective to work. Her enthusiasm when she comes in each day is like no other. She has a personality and point of view that I know has been of great benefit to the other staff here,” Jane says.

Employing people with disability brings new perspectives, skills and diversity to the workplace—and the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator is available to work with employers to find candidates suited to their needs.

Claire has been working in the school for six years now, after spending six years as an office assistant in an accountancy firm. Anniversaries are important to Claire, and she’s very much looking forward to her tenth year at her new job.

Getting a job wasn’t easy, though. When the last company she worked for was sold, she lost her job. After that, she struggled to find employment. Through the support of her parents and contacts of theirs, she was put in touch with Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital School and has worked there ever since.

“I love my job. It’s very important to enjoy what you’re doing and love what you’re doing, so I feel very lucky,” Claire says.

But, being able to find a job is not always the reality for people with disability. Only 53 per cent of Australians with disability are participating in work, compared to 83 per cent of the broader population. For those with intellectual disabilities, the number is even lower—with just 39 per cent having a job.

Jane says that working with Claire and getting to know her has made her confident to employ other staff with disability.

“I haven’t used JobAccess before, but being able to describe exactly what the role is and what would be required, and then being linked with a suitable person, would be invaluable in this process,” she says.

Diversity in employment can have an enormously positive impact on your business—and it doesn’t need to be complicated. Visit the National Disability Recruitment Coordinator page now to find out more.

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