Horse-riding accident survivor celebrates her return to workforce after years of recovery

Two years ago Port Macquarie woman Michelle Graham had a horse riding accident which turned her whole world upside down. The injuries sustained left 34 year old Michelle unable to work and having to move back home with close family.

“I had such an active life with my full time job as a pathology blood collector and my passion for horse dressage on the weekend,” Michelle said.

“Then all of a sudden I had nothing.”

Michelle broke her tibia, fibia and ankle on her left leg as well as her left elbow. She was wheelchair bound and unable to walk for ten months.

“I had to learn how to walk again and also improve my speech as I hit my head quite hard when I fell,” Michelle said.

“The past two years has been filled with medical appointments, physio and hydro therapy.”

Wanting to return to the workforce Michelle decided to contact Centrelink to see what her options were.

“I had to try and restructure my life as it was not going back to normal again. Centrelink asked me to go and see ETC to help me as part of the Disability Employment Service,” Michelle said.

“When I saw Ashley at ETC, he knew that I was unable to return to my full time employment as I couldn’t stand for long periods of time. So he sat down with me and worked out what my abilities were, helped me with my resume, clothing for my interview and suitable shoes for me to work in every day.”

Identifying that Michelle needed a sedentary job, ETC Consultant Ashley approached Designer Living Kitchens as he knew they were seeking a new employee.

“Ashley handed my resume in and then I was offered a full time position as the showroom hostess and personal assistant,” Michelle said.

“I love my new job and my employer has been fantastic. They have allowed me to constantly attend medical appointments during my rehabilitation. I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive company.”

According to Michelle, ETC had also organised for her to see a specialist to help with mobility to ensure she could remain in her employment.

“The service and support from Ashley and the team at ETC has been absolutely fantastic,” Michelle said.

Designer Living Kitchens Showroom Manager Damon White encouraged other employers out there to give people with a disability or injury a chance at employment.

“Disability or not, Shelley was the stand-out from all the applicants we’ve had. She has proved to be very suitable for the role with her skill-set. Her injuries made no affect to her position here,” Damon said.

“It was really helpful that ETC suggested Shelley for us as we were struggling to find someone suitable for the role.”

ETC provides specialist help to people with disability, illness or injury to find and keep a job. Call us on 1800 007 400, visit etcltd.com.au or drop into an ETC office in Port Macquarie, Wauchope or Laurieton.

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