Job Access Case Study

Dougie H - ‘Getting around the Sydney CBD’

Dougie is a Project Manager at National Disability Services NSW. He manages the $17 Million Industry Development Fund which supports and encourages disability service providers to prepare for more individualised funding, personalised budgets and self-directed support in the community.

Dougie recently received DEEWR support to purchase power assisted wheels for his standard manual wheelchair.  He explained: “They’ve transformed my mobility, making me truly independent in the area I work in – the very hilly Sydney CBD.  I have C5/6 quadriplegia with limited use of my upper limbs but I can, and do, push my manual wheelchair whenever I can, which usually means on the flat and slight inclines.”

However, Dougie’s job requires him to visit lots of different offices in the tower blocks of the CBD.  “The offices I visit are too close to make it worthwhile for wheelchair accessible taxis to pick me up.  I’d wait for ages and miss meetings.  I could drive but many of the underground car parks are too low for my adapted van and street parking is a nightmare.  The hills in the CBD are too steep for me to manage on my own so, in the past, I had to rely on the extraordinary goodwill of my work colleagues to push me up and down busy streets or on to and off crowded buses.”

Since being supplied with power assisted wheels, Dougie is able to push anywhere his work needs him to go.  “It’s fantastic,” explains Dougie, “and the best bit is that because the wheels only assist, rather than replace my efforts entirely, I even get some good-for-me physical exercise as I go about my business independently.”

Dougie found applying through JobAccess “straightforward, simple and effective, especially as I could submit my initial application via the web. I’d recommend it to anyone with disability who thinks they might benefit from some kind of workplace support,” said Dougie.

Dougie has a fantastic attitude and it’s great to see him get the support he needed. We asked Dougie about his goals for the future and he joked: “I’d quite like to score the winning goal for Scotland in the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.  Then the alarm goes off and I realise it’s time to wake up and head to the office.”