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Two jobs, an award and a lifetime of confidence

A lot of things can happen in two years – just ask Glenn Stacey. Whilst many of us have been dealing with the relentless and far-reaching impact of COVID-19, Glenn has been focused and working hard to turn his life around, despite his own personal challenges…

Prior to enrolling at TAFE Queensland on the Gold Coast, Glenn Stacey was experiencing long-term unemployment, and was feeling quite deflated given his disability’s impact on his career options. Glenn is deaf, and his previous roles within the personal training and hospitality sectors proved incredibly challenging. When Glenn’s caseworker encouraged him to meet with TAFE Queensland’s AccessAbility Officer Thomas, Glenn’s empathic nature was quickly identified, and he took the first steps towards a brand-new career, enrolling in a Certificate III in Individual Support, Aged Care and Disability (CHC33015).

As a student with deafness, face-to-face learning was challenging. Whilst Glenn was provided with Auslan interpreters and note-takers by TAFE Queensland, relying on them for exact translations, nuances, and to include ‘off the cuff’ contextual remarks was difficult. However, Glenn persisted. By also accessing Auslan language support services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and by focusing on the prescribed course readings, Glenn was keeping up and achieving. Then came COVID-19.

In term holidays Glenn had travelled to Tasmania to visit his family, and soon after, COVID-19 restrictions intensified. Despite Glenn being very concerned as to how he would continue with his study, and combatting feelings of loneliness, again he persisted. TAFE Queensland moved its learning online, an Auslan interpreter was made available during video conferencing, and Glenn learnt the course curriculum via new platforms and technologies.

“When I was able to return to Queensland, I still had practical elements to complete, and then 120 hours of placement. I was fortunate to have my placement opportunity extended by Deaf Services, and then even more fortunate when at the end of my placement, they offered me a job,” Glenn shared.

“During my placement (at Deaf Services) I was given a deaf buddy to work with. The buddy showed me how to work with deaf blind clients, how to work safely with clients, and they showed me what to do as a support worker. They showed me how to get a client safely from a wheelchair into the car, how to shower a client, and to provide personal care.

“My job these days? Well, it’s very busy, and every day is different. It involves a lot of driving, picking up clients, taking clients to appointments, providing personal care and taking them to activities and to exercises. I also provide social support to some clients. I am sometimes asked to cover staff who are sick or away.

“I love helping people through my work. I have learnt so many new skills such as working with deaf blind clients and learning Tactile Sign Language (used for the deaf and blind). My preferred language, Auslan, has also improved greatly and my confidence has grown,” reflected Glenn.

“At the moment I am also self-employed with the NDIS. I mostly work with deaf clients and some clients on the autism spectrum. Their ages vary from children to adults. I provide exercises for one client, take the client to the gym and provide support on how to eat healthily. With the children I work with – I may take them to the gym, to their sporting activities, take them to a theme park or take them shopping. Whatever the client wishes to do in their support time,” Glenn shared.

Glenn’s achievements and approach to his study and career were also recognised this year via the 2021 Queensland Training Awards, as a state finalist, and regional winner of the ‘Equity VET Student of the Year’ Award. An award, which undoubtedly will look great on the wall of his workplace, as Glenn’s ultimate career goal is to run his own business as a service provider, with his own staff.

And given what Glenn has been able to achieve in two challenging years, we’ve no doubt that this goal will materialise swiftly also. Congratulations Glenn.