A morning of inspiration – With Simon Patmore!

Friday morning (19th Oct, 2018) was a morning of inspiration, tears and laughter for the Central Coast Contact Centre networking group, as Simon Patmore, our ambassador and 2 time Paralympic gold medalist spoke to a room of business leaders about overcoming adversity, inclusion and diversity in the workforce, what it means to have a disability and his journey to Paralympic glory.

Simon’s message about determination and never giving up resonated with the room. Growing up with a visible physical disability, erbs palsey, he told the group “You know I was the kid that was picked last for the soccer team and had the bigger kid pick on me. Until I showed them what I could do. I proved myself by trying my hardest, never giving up and showing the skills and talents I did have, not what I couldn’t do. I focussed on my abilities. My teachers loved it, as it showed the other kids that If i could do it, then they could too.” Fast forward to adult life in the workforce, “I worked for QLD Health in IT and I know that by overcoming any barriers from my disability was a motivating force for my workmates. Again, if he can do it, so can I.”

The room was understandably in awe when Simon then spoke about his sport, his winning race and his pure determination and focus. Notably, comments from several guests around the overwhelming sense of pride his parents must be feeling after seeing vision of his father in in tears during Simon’s greatest sporting moment to date, had everyone in agreement. A visit from Simon wouldn’t be complete without seeing, holding and feeling the weight of the gold and bronze medal, which was passed around the room with much interest.

Job Centre Australia hosted the event at The Factory, a newly reopened nougat and chocolate factory at West Gosford on the NSW Central Coast. Previously based in Sydney, owner operator and chief nougat creator Andrew, knew he needed more space and loved the idea of bringing his business to the beautiful Central Coast with its gorgeous beaches, mountainous bushland and of course the economic benefits of moving out of the big smoke! The growth they’ve experienced is phenomenal. “We went from making 15 kg’s of nougat per day, to 3 tonne per day”. The premises is bursting at the seams as demand for their delicious treats is on the increase. It also houses a cafe and a mouth watering, chocolate and nougat store. The morning was topped off with a tour of the factory, taste testing and delicious samples to take home.

The event was a fabulous opportunity for some of our local business leaders to gain a stronger awareness on disability, the benefits of hiring people with a disability whilst also being supporting and being spoilt with delicious treats from a great local business. All in all, it was awe inspiring with each and every group commenting on how grateful they were to attend.

Disability can be a scary word for some, not knowing what that actually means. Awareness is key to inclusion and diversity in our communities and our workplaces as people with disability might have some barriers in one aspect or another but can achieve the same if not better than someone without a disability. We’re all individuals and have similar experiences of ups and downs, abilities, barriers, fears, goals, achievements – disability or not! We’re proud to have Simon Patmore on board as our ambassador as he spreads his message about his experience and how employers could make a meaningful difference in someone’s life, by giving them an opportunity.

We’d like to thanks Department of Finance Services and Innovation, AMS Furniture, ANZ, Police Assistance Line, Scholastics, Belkin, Long Service Leave Corporation, ING and Forsythes Recruitment for joining us.