Title: Wheelchair Sports Program Breaks Barriers for Jobseekers with Disabilities
David “DJ” Johnson, a Paralympic silver medallist and wheelchair sports enthusiast, has triumphed over a car crash and the loss of a leg. However, when it came to finding employment, his determination seemed to hit a roadblock.
In an effort to address this issue, a new wheelchair sports program has been launched to help businesses break down barriers for jobseekers with disabilities. Shockingly, only 54 percent of people with disabilities are part of the workforce, compared to 83 percent without disabilities, according to a report by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The program is spearheaded by a former Paralympian who faced similar challenges when seeking employment. Frustrated by having doors shut on him, he decided to lead this initiative to create opportunities for others.
Mr. Johnson’s experience is not unique. Many individuals with disabilities face discrimination when it comes to job opportunities. Employers often overlook their skills and achievements due to their disability.
Teaming up with welfare group Social Futures, Mr. Johnson and his team developed a program called No Limits, initially aimed at introducing wheelchair sports to school students. The success of this program led to a new focus on the business world.
The first corporate session took place at the flood-damaged back room of the Summerland Credit Union in Lismore. In a lively and laughter-filled 45-minute session, managers and employees were left amazed at the skills required to play wheelchair basketball.
John Williams, the credit union’s CEO, expressed his newfound appreciation for the challenges faced by individuals in wheelchairs. He stated, “We’ve always had a diverse opinion about disabilities, but experiencing firsthand what it’s like to be in a wheelchair has added to our training. It’s been fantastic.”
Trainee Tobin Dwyer also found the experience eye-opening. He shared, “I realized that even without functioning legs, there are no boundaries. There’s nothing stopping you, there’s no limit.”
The No Limits program aims to change the way people perceive individuals with disabilities. By shifting the focus from the wheelchair to the person’s abilities, they hope to create a more inclusive and accepting society.
With the success of the program at schools and businesses, it is hoped that more organizations will embrace this initiative and provide equal opportunities for jobseekers with disabilities.
The No Limits program is not just about sports; it is about breaking down barriers, changing perceptions, and creating a more inclusive society where everyone has an equal chance to succeed.