MatchWorks jobseeker Lenny Peters regained his confidence after gaining employment at Serco’s Box Hill site.
Lenny was 15 years old when he lost his balance and fell 30 metres down a cliff-face at the beachside town of Barwon Heads. The accident changed his life forever, leaving Lenny paralysed from his waist down and with a minor cognitive brain injury.
Lenny, 49, was unable to find work in Warrnambool after the company he was employed at as a Health and Safety Manager went bankrupt in 2015.
Lenny relocated back to Geelong with his wife and joined Disability Employment Services agency MatchWorks.
"I regained confidence, learnt how to better prepare for job interviews, as well as learnt not to shy away from my minor brain injury - that was really important in getting me back into work," he said.
Lenny said finding an employer who could accommodate his needs was difficult, but he was willing to consider opportunities outside Geelong.
"Some companies didn't want to hire me because they didn't understand what complete Paraplegic means," he said.
"Finding a new job was extremely difficult as a majority of companies wanted someone who can multitask and use their legs. Companies want to use my brain in helping them with OH&S but also use my legs, which is impossible.
"Building access for wheelchairs has improved since 1982 but office layouts have not - the majority of offices are set up tightly for able-bodied people."
Serco’s Box Hill site proved to be the perfect fit. "Serco is excellent as it is set up for customer service and fully wheelchair friendly," he said.
"Travelling to and from Geelong to Box Hill was an issue at the beginning, however if you stick at it it's not an issue. I can't praise Serco enough."
Lenny’s manager Derina Ediriweera said his work ethic and positive attitude in the face of adversity was inspiring.
"Lenny is determined, committed, confident and always willing to learn new things," Derina said.
"He always has a smile on his face and loves working in a team environment
"Lenny is an inspiration to the whole team and I have a lot of time and respect for him."