Disability Works Australia


South Australia Police are leading the way in “Job Splitting” positions

Doris Andrew, Administration Manager of Holden Hill Police Station, was searching for an ASO1 Administration Officer and explained to DWA how difficult it was to attract people to the position due to the repetition of the duties and the ability to type transcription tapes all day. Although this was only one of the duties of the Administration Officer role, this particular duty was rarely enjoyed by staff and therefore it was rarely completed on time. Doris also believes transcript typing is a dying skill which is very particular and believes this only adds to the issues associated with finding staff for the role.

In the past, this task was brought up to date by using temporary staff that had experience in medical or legal transcription supplied through Temp agencies. This method did not prove to be the best cost effective solution.

Doris first looked at a number of applicants for the position, which included an application endorsed by DWA for Sonja Veitinger. When she came across the resume, she was amazed that Sonja had all the skills to fulfil the transcript typing part of the role but due to her vision impairment was unable to complete other tasks of the position.

Although the generic role was not able to be filled by Sonja, Doris had discussions with her seniors and was given approval to employ Sonja for the transcript part of the role only. Doris is pleased with the newly created job saying, “by being creative with the role, were getting retention in this job, providing a solution to one area of skill shortage and proving to be more cost effective.” Sonja was employed directly by South Australia Police on a contract.

Sonja did require work place modification to be implemented to assist her to complete the tasks. An assessment was conducted and the installation of a computer program (JAWS) to Sonja's computer and a dual headset was installed for her to listen to the tapes. The JAWS program verbalises word documents which enables Sonja to ‘read' material. Sonja's guide dog, Rowen, sits quietly next to Sonja and has become very popular in the station. He requires occasional rest breaks across the park and generally Sonja's colleagues ask to take him over to get a little ‘stress relief'.

When Sonja first commenced employment, she was trying so hard to ensure everything was perfect and checking her work over and over, slowing down her work rate. Doris said “this has nothing to do with her disability and when she told her that she was going slower by checking too much detail, Sonja quickly addressed the issue, increased her pace and is now completing the tapes at a fantastic rate.”

Out of the 90 hours she has so far worked, Sonja has completed 30 transcripts and completed 63.7 hours worth of transcribing (including all her time training). Doris commented that “these statistics are kept on all staff and Sonja is making her area look good as the team gets things done more quickly”.

Doris believes this is a story for all employers and said, “by investing in the right person you will reap the benefits. There is room in generic jobs to carve duties and provide opportunities for people with a disability as well as assisting businesses with areas of skill shortages.”

Sonja agrees saying, “it's a great idea and I am much happier and less stressed than I have been in the past. I'm working with great people and feel that I am doing something worth while now. In the beginning it was difficult but it's a great feeling knowing I've typed something that will hopefully help someone.”

Sonja is on a temporary contract but as soon as a vacancy comes available, Doris will have no hesitation offering a full time role to Sonja.


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