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Rick empowers during Disability Action Week

Rick empowers during Disability Action Week
Rick Gill shares his story to empower others during Disability Action Week. Photo: contributed.

Working in disability support has been a gratifying change for Bundaberg’s Rick Gill, who shares his story during Disability Action Week.

Disability Action Week held from 25 November to 2 December celebrates Queenslanders with disability and the contributions they make to families, communities, workplaces and economy.

In 2020, Rick faced a life-altering moment when a serious back injury at work led to severe anxiety and depression.

Admitting that “it got pretty bad” Rick who had experienced the toll of manual labour and management stresses, realised he needed a change.

“60-70-hour weeks and I just kept pushing till it ended up costing me three years of my life,” Rick said.

Despite early signs of depression and anxiety, Rick's old-school approach led him to internalise his struggles, ultimately landing him in hospital.

Taking matters into his own hands Rick sought a new path.

Little did he know that this journey would lead him to a fulfilling career in the disability support industry.

Sharing his story to promote Disability Action Week Rick said he began with a commitment to self-improvement.

It was a journey that connected him with the training team at IMPACT Community Services.

Attending an information day Rick met Gay, Michelle, and Katie, setting the stage for a participation in a Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability).

Reflecting on his training experience with IMPACT Rick commended the support he received.

“Given that I was going through what I was going through, and I didn’t even tell Gay about the depression and stuff, I had told her I’d had a back injury, but she just got it somehow,” Rick said.

“But it wasn’t just me. She was able to engage with the entire class on a personal level, which kept us all plugging through it.”

Now employed in the disability support industry Rick said it had been one of the most rewarding things he’d ever done.

While the journey to overcome depression and anxiety continues, he finds fulfillment in his work.

“This is the best medicine,” he said.

“When I do something for someone, it makes me feel better, so essentially, it’s part of my healing.

“I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm kind of good with that.”

He encouraged others to explore opportunities working with people with disabilities.

“If someone reads this and thinks, ‘I'm in a similar situation, maybe I should reach out,' it's worth it,” Rick said.

“You hear about people saying it’s not a job if you love it. You always hear it, but you don’t believe it until you’re in that position. I do actually look forward to coming to work.”

That’s what working in the disability sector enables.

To find out more IMPACT’s training pathways visit Certificate III Training Courses – Impact Community Services. IMPACT is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO code: 0115).