Over-joyed! WA business shored up thanks to JobAccess

Joy Sherlock wearing a green shirt and hat, standing with her new machine in the paddock
Image: Joy Sherlock wearing a green shirt and hat, standing with her new machine in the paddock.

As a soil health specialist and agronomist, Joy Sherlock has to climb in and out of her ute up to 40 times each paddock many times a day – which would be challenging for most people.

However, while Joy looks like she is managing her large workload in the paddocks of Western Australia, the struggle is real.

Joy has osteochondritis dissecans in both knees, a joint condition which significantly affects her mobility. Despite a massive 24 surgeries to both knees, she remains in a great deal of pain with mobility limitations.

“I have really struggled with my disability due to the mobility issues and ongoing pain.  I have a lot of trouble going from sitting to standing. It’s really hard for me to traverse steps and uneven ground,” says Joy, a 45-year-old Mum.

Joy, who has a Bachelor of Agri-Business Marketing, lives and works in Dongara, south of Geraldton.

She decided recently there would be less chance of discrimination due to her disability if she worked for herself, so she started her own business.

“It has been a long, long struggle. Particularly to be a person with a disability that is hard to see. It impacts so many areas of my life,” said Joy.

After so many challenges, she was unsure how she would go on. “I have been dealing with this on my own for years and years since I was 18,” she says.

The support from JobAccess came at a very good time.

Joy lodged an online application for funding for work-related assistive technology through JobAccess for the Australian Government’s Employment Assistance Fund (EAF).

After receiving the application, JobAccess organised a free worksite assessment for Joy. An independent assessor visited her work site to review potential barriers at work and recommend disability-specific workplace solutions. Soon after, Joy received the funded supports at work.

“This automated equipment and the support from JobAccess is literally going to change my life.

“It is going to allow me to keep working and developing my business. It’s perfect timing, and it’s pretty awesome.

“It will be a huge help. I can’t describe the feeling to have this amazing support and funding.”

Joy’s efforts have recently been acknowledged by the 2023 AgriFutures WA Rural Women’s Award, which salutes the contribution of women on the land, where she is one of three finalists.

What support is available?

There is a wide range of support available from JobAccess for people with disability, employers, and service providers. JobAccess has managed more than 62,000 applications for funding workplace adjustments since 2006.

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

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