Chelsea describes the support received by JobAccess as ‘life-changing’
Image: Chelsea is sitting in a chair, smiling at the camera. She is wearing glasses and an orange jumper. Two computer monitors and a work desk are behind her.
Chelsea is the People and Culture Manager at Experience Life, a registered NDIS disability support provider in Victoria. Chelsea lives with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an acquired chronic neurological disease.
Chelsea has worked with Experience Life for many years across various roles. In her first role, Chelsea was a Disability Support Worker, a position she loved but found physically exhausting. This prompted Chelsea to pivot careers within Experience Life to remain working with an organisation that she believes in.
“I loved working hands-on with some of our incredible clients, but I did have times where I truly struggled with the physicality of that work and didn’t want to leave the organisation. So, I progressed internally, joining the Operational Management team. I have been working up the ranks since then to my current position,” shared Chelsea.
Chelsea’s role primarily involves staff recruitment, retention, and supporting staff. Chelsea works in a small team and from home for a workplace that she feels truly offers flexibility. “We are a very small organisation and as such, our team is also small and bespoke. We work so closely together that we are often all working across each other’s roles or departments to ensure that our clients and our staff get the best of all of us,” said Chelsea. Chelsea enjoyed her role so much that she decided to formalise her qualifications in 2021 by studying a Diploma of Human Resources Management.
In the early days of Chelsea’s diagnosis with MS, she was connected with a friend of her colleague who also lives with MS. Chelsea found it extremely helpful having someone who could share her experience with MS and what it was like, and who could support Chelsea in navigating her new diagnosis and the supports available. This friend connected Chelsea with MS Plus, which has an Employment Support Service. Via MS Plus, Chelsea heard about JobAccess.
Before seeking support from JobAccess, as a result of her symptoms, Chelsea found work to be very tiring and challenging. “I struggled through many days, with fatigue and pain management taking a lot out of me,” shared Chelsea.
At this point, Chelsea decided it was time to seek support for workplace adjustments from JobAccess.
JobAccess provides free, expert and confidential advice on workplace adjustments to employers and people with disability. It has a range of field experts, including allied health professionals, occupational therapists, and psychologists, who offer advice tailored to the person’s situation from the first point of contact.
Chelsea was connected with JobAccess Professional Adviser Pietro Condidorio. Pietro was straight onto understanding Chelsea’s working-from-home set-up and how JobAccess could support Chelsea with adjustments and financial assistance through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF).
“My workstation set-up was something I ‘thought’ was pretty good until Ally (independent assessor organised by JobAccess) showed me the way things could be improved. It was so incredible to have her come to the house and really spend time getting to know me and my individual situation, and what was working and what wasn’t,” shared Chelsea.
This assessment stage of the workplace adjustments process is pivotal in understanding each individual’s circumstances, challenges, and environment. From here, JobAccess recommends a tailored solution depending on each person’s needs and goals.
Following the assessment, JobAccess funded and arranged an ergonomic, MS-focused workstation, including a footstool and a Therapod office chair, along with a mobility scooter to support Chelsea with accessing work meetings and events away from her home office and equipment to help Chelsea regulate her body temperature.
“Having this new equipment that was aimed at people like me to help reduce pain and fatigue levels, really had an instant impact on my work and my overall well-being,” said Chelsea.
“Prior to working with JobAccess, I thought things just were the way they were, and I genuinely wasn’t aware that there were options for improvement out there, or that I was eligible to access any of them!” shared Chelsea.
Chelsea feels that without the JobAccess funded equipment and support, she would not be working to the capacity she is today, in a job that she truly loves.
“The equipment funded to me has far exceeded any of my initial expectations,” said Chelsea.
“The JobAccess service is honestly a lifeline, in so many ways. Remaining an active member of my team gives me a real purpose each day and brings me joy.”
That wasn’t the end of Chelsea’s journey with JobAccess. In October 2022, Chelsea’s MS flared up to the point that she was admitted to the stroke unit at a nearby hospital for several weeks.
JobAccess came up with a solution of talk-to-text software so that Chelsea could continue her work, which was a source of support through a challenging time.
“As a result of how this ‘stroke-like’ event impacted me and my ability to work, JobAccess were kind enough to fund me some talk-to-text software and an amazing pair of headphones so that I could focus on getting back to work sooner. It really helped me feel more positive at that incredibly scary time and helped me set goals that I could realistically achieve, thanks to the resources and equipment that JobAccess acquired for me.
Every single support I have had funded through JobAccess has been life-changing in some way or another!” shared Chelsea.
With this support, Chelsea has continued to thrive in her career, working for an organisation that also makes a difference to the lives of people with disability.
What does Chelsea enjoy most about her work? “I think the thing I enjoy the most is the people. The Operations team, whom I work with daily, is such an incredible and inspiring group of women that make my job so much more fulfilling,” said Chelsea.
As for Chelsea’s thoughts on JobAccess, Chelsea appreciates the ongoing, friendly and responsive support.
“The JobAccess service is responsive, interactive, friendly and supportive in a way that I have never experienced before with other services. I cannot thank MS Plus or JobAccess enough for supporting me to live my best life with MS and for doing that with ongoing and changing circumstances due to the nature of the disease.”
Are you looking to organise workplace adjustments to support an employee with disability? Talk to us.
There are a wide range of supports available from JobAccess for people with disability, employers, and service providers.