Recognising lived disability within the workforce

International Day of People with Disability is held on December 3 each year. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

Baptcare is proud to celebrate one our employees, Belinda Allen, Community Connector – NDIS based in Hobart, on this Day.

Belinda was one of the first females in Australia to be diagnosed with a rare form of Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 11. She became wheelchair dependent after falling pregnant with her son (now 22).

Moving from Queensland to Tasmania three years ago, she found it hard to find work. With a background in working as the Founding CEO of a service that provided individuals with acquired brain injuries and high care supports with accommodation services in small local communities, she was well qualified but still received knockback after knockback.

“Trying to find a job in Tasmania as a person with a disability, who had skills and attributes was a very difficult task for me. I was told by disability employment services that I was too highly qualified to work in the State Government and other services. After applying for 300 jobs, I found Baptcare and they accepted me and my skillset,” said Belinda.

Belinda works at Baptcare as a Local Area Coordinator in the Community in the South West Region of Tasmania where she assists people to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

She finds that her lived experience with disability helps in understanding the clients she interacts with on a daily basis.

“I have definitely found there is a mutual understanding and it has made a significant difference in my relationships with my NDIS clients,” said Belinda.

However, working with a disability has not been without its challenges.

“The main challenges for me have been transport, access to buildings and functions, and the culture of the community. I believe there needs to be a cultural change in the attitude toward people with disabilities working,” said Belinda.

“I am thankful for my Baptcare team members and management for their support. I haven’t encountered any challenges while working at Baptcare as I have been fully supported, my needs have been met and I love the culture and commitment to the Values and Mission of the organisation. I am grateful to Baptcare for their total acceptance,” said Belinda.

Looking to the future Belinda hopes to provide those she serves with, “access to the NDIS, full use of the Scheme, the ability to live a good life, and a totally inclusive lifestyle with an improved provision of supports”.

Baptcare is committed to building a respectful and inclusive workplace, appointing the best person for the role and supporting diversity. Baptcare welcomes applicants who may require adjustments.