A BANORA Point woman has taken the DIS out of disability with the help of ON-Q Human Resources and the Coolangatta Hotel.

Arthritis sufferer Janette Pankhurst knows first-hand the stigma that is attached to the word disability.

She tried for months to get a job through conventional methods but found many employers failed to look past her injury or what they saw as a 'disability'.

"I am restricted in what I can do because my mobility isn't what it used to be and I can't stand up for hours at a time and after being a typist for decades I also have RSI so I can't carry heavy loads - in addition to all this I'm in my 50s," Mrs Pankhurst said.

After struggling to find an employer who would give her the chance to prove she could do the job, she enlisted the help of a conventional recruitment agency but quickly became disheartened when it failed to place her in any jobs.

Thankfully, Centrelink then referred her to ON-Q Human Resources, a Disability Employment Services provider that specialises in helping find jobs for those with a illness, injury or disability.

ON-Q consultant Jill Southcott looked at different options for Mrs Pankhurst, including getting her work trials in Benowa. When this didn't work out she took workshops at ON-Q's Tweed office to strengthen her resume and interview techniques.

After three months of up-skilling and waiting, a job was sourced by the ON-Q marketing team at the Coolangatta Hotel as a relief bookkeeper for six hours a week.

"While it was only a few hours it really raised my spirits and at that stage I would've taken anything because I really wanted to get back into the workforce," Mrs Pankhurst said.

"Within a few months I was offered a full time position and I couldn't be happier or more grateful to my boss Mark for giving me this opportunity.

"It's hard to express how grateful I am for the way I'm treated, like an equal and one of the team.

"More employers need to be like Mark and look past people's injuries and illnesses and realise it doesn't matter how we get the job done as long as we get it done."

Ms Southcott keeps in touch with Mrs Pankhurst every few weeks to see how she is going and offer employment and personal support.

"A lot of ON-Q clients only work part time, mostly because this is their choice and sometimes because the hours suit people with some sort of disability," Ms Southcott said.

"The employer gets good reliable staff and they are aware of the clients condition so everyone involved gets a satisfactory outcome."

ON-Q Human Resources is a non-profit employment provider that has nine branches servicing northern NSW and the Gold Coast. For media inquiries or to organise a photo opportunity call Ms Ruddleston on 5506 2600 or 0409 039 072. More details at visit www.onqhr.com.au.



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