Disability Works Australia


Life Changing Decision

When a rare degenerative disease forced Madonna Noble into a wheelchair two years ago she realized she was facing a life-changing decision.

The 39-year-old former nurse could either succumb to her disability or take control of her life.

I considered my options and realized I was ready to make a new start I wanted to get back into the workforce, Madonna said.

She enrolled in TAFE for a course in business administration and before long joined a 12-month trainee program at the Brisbane City Council. The council has a policy of offering positions to people with disability and a well-developed training program.

As a result of a memorandum of understanding signed between Disability Works Australia (DWA) and the council in 2004, Madonna is one of 38 people with disabilities that DWA has helped place into work, 29 of them into traineeship positions.

I found it relatively easy, but then I was really motivated and put everything into it, she said.

Madonna makes it sound like her transition back into the workforce was straightforward, but then she's been a battler for many years.

She was born with ehlers-danlos syndrome, a condition that involves faulty collagen which causes fragile skin and unstable joints. In Madonna Noble's case, this has led to frequent joint dislocations, problems with the major organs and her eyes, and 12 years ago she suffered a stroke.

During her 39 years she has also had to undergo about 30 operations to help her fix her broken body.

When not at work Madonna is a devoted mother of a 14-year-old son who suffers from autism.

DWA worked closely with Madonna to ensure she had the best chance of success when applying for a position at Brisbane City Council.

And she has quickly made her mark, Madonna was a standout trainee coming runner-up in the council's trainee of the year award.

Since completing her traineeship in corporate services, Madonna has been given a permanent role in the rates section of customer community services.


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