Disability Works Australia


Graduate aims high

Working as a computer programmer is no mean feat but achieving success in this highly competitive field is an outstanding achievement for a person who is totally blind.

Chris Baillie is a man who has accomplished this.

The agreement signed between Disability Works Australia (DWA) and the National Australia Bank (NAB) ensured NAB had adequate support when employing Chris.

The Swinburne University graduate was one of 1100 people who applied for a role within NAB's graduate recruitment program and one of only 25 who passed through the bank's extensive screening process to secure a job.

NAB then contacted its diversity partner DWA which offers a free, single point of contact for recruiting and the provision of information on disability employment issues to large, national employers.

DWA conducted disability awareness training for NAB staff and, in partnership with Disability Employment Network provider, Vision Australia , completed a workplace assessment.

The assessment and consultation with Chris found the only workplace modification he required was JAWS assistive technology which reads back what is on a computer monitor via headphones.

His guide dog Flint also needed access to a nearby park which Chris said he “usually does not need to visit during the day”.

Chris has completed the one year graduate program and has now moved on to become a fully-fledged computer programmer.

He works in a team of 11 developing and maintaining the software used by staff in most NAB branches around Australia .

The 26-year-old newlywed said he really enjoyed the variety offered by the job.

“The work is different all the time, particularly when we are working on small projects, there is something different every month or so,” Chris said.

He said he believed people with a disability should come to employers with some ideas about how to solve any issues their disability might create.

Instead of saying ‘here I am, look after me because that's what the law says' people should say ‘this is what I have done in the past and this is what I am capable of'”.

“Staff at NAB have a very open mind to employing people with a disability, which is vitally important,” Chris said.


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