Sunday, 11 April, is World Parkinson’s Day. Global Skills Disability Employment Service job seeker, Paul Azzopardi, was diagnosed with the disease when he was 50, almost 10 years ago. After undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery last year he is back working five days a week.
“The surgery was a game-changer for me,” Paul said.
“I had the surgery in July and was working five hours a day for five days a week by September. My work colleagues, employer and the team at Global Skills’ Wetherill Park have been very supportive.”
Paul works for Blackwoods, a 140-year-old company that has grown to be one of the largest suppliers of industrial and safety supplies. COVID created an unprecedented online demand for Blackwoods’ products, particularly for sanitation and PPE gear.
Paul works in their Greystanes store, where his background in fitting and machining has proved invaluable to customers.
His advice to employers looking to employ someone with Parkinson’s is to “give them a go”. “People with Parkinson’s have a lot to contribute – employers need to be understanding and supportive, allow for breaks or time off for treatment. As the disease progresses, offer part-time work.”
And to people with Parkinson’s looking for employment?
“You have to be a fighter. It is a battle to live with the disease, but it is important to keep positive. Work is good for your mental health, and so is exercise…you have to keep moving – and getting up to go to work is a great motivator.”
To learn more about Parkinson’s head to Parkinson’s NSW.
If you are interested in finding out how Global Skills can help you if you live with a disability, injury or illness please contact us.