No holding back “ray of sunshine” Angela

Despite significant political, social, and physical obstacles, Angela Watkins has achieved impressive academic results and has just landed a job – thanks to support from JobAccess.

Angela Watkins – who was born with a sight and hearing disability – couldn’t believe how her world opened up after coming to Australia from South Africa.

“I can’t even begin to explain what it feels like to have access to public transport. To be able to go anywhere I want, whenever I want is the most wonderful thing in the world,” said Angela, who first came to Australia in 1999.

“The independence means everything to me.

“Because of the political and social situation – and because it was so dangerous – there was no longer any public transport in South Africa.”

Angela – one of JobAccess’ most recent recipients of support through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) – says she found school and university in South Africa enormously challenging with no tangible assistance or consideration.

People didn’t understand – or seemingly, care

“I struggled. I struggled. I struggled. I struggled to get through.”

She says her teachers and lecturers dismissed the possibility of any extra support or adjustments. But she always dreamed of getting an education and finding a job.

“I could never read the board and just muddled my way through. At one stage I said to the lecturer: ‘I can’t read the board.’

“He said to me: ‘It’s not my problem!’”

Thanks to her refusal to give up, Angela managed to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce.

Thankfully, when she moved to Australia to attend the University of Southern Queensland for her Graduate Certificate in Commerce, she was met with far more understanding and support.

Help was at hand

Angela has recently landed a job with Janice’s Bookkeeping Services in Nerang Queensland thanks to her employment counsellor Therese Sunderland of Wise Employment, a Disability Employment Service (DES) provider.

JobAccess has supported Angela by providing a brand-new computer, zoom tech software and a magnifier.

“Angela was a ray of sunshine. Just delightful,” said Therese.

“She was always super positive. Really open to whatever possibilities presented themselves. Nothing was ever too difficult, (she was) open to suggestion.

“She was just happy to find a job that would suit her.”

Bright future

Angela is delighted to have found suitable employment.

“I can’t thank Therese or JobAccess enough. Nothing was too much trouble for them. They were really great.

“It’s really important for me to work but it’s been challenging. So, I am very, very appreciative,” Angela said. 

Like to learn more?

There is a wide range of support available from JobAccess for people with disability, employers, and service providers.

JobAccess has managed over 59,000 applications for funding workplace adjustments since 2006. Each one makes a difference by helping people with disability get work, keep work, and progress their careers.

Contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to speak to our friendly and resourceful Advisers about workplace adjustments and the Employment Assistance Fund. You can also submit an online enquiry through the JobAccess website.

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