March 13, 2019

“Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is often misunderstood by employers” according to Workplace Alliance’s newest team member Daniel Atkins.

Daniel has joined the Workplace Alliance team as fully operational Maintenance Fitter, operating out of Godfrey Hirst in Geelong.

Having completed his apprenticeship in 2012, and after being made redundant after his previous employer shut down operations locally, Daniel has not only successfully managed his MS, but also the unsubstantiated concerns and assumptions of future employers. “I’ve had a number of employers knock me back after letting them know I have MS. I even had one employer tell me that I was too much of an OH&S risk even though I have a spotless employment record and 3 days off work since being diagnosed in 2010. Other employers just didn’t ring me back” Daniel explains.

A chance meeting connected Daniel with Workplace Alliance Managing Director Wayne Allan, who also acted as Daniel’s supervisor during his apprenticeship. Wayne says “Daniel is a welcomed new team member who offers great skill, enthusiasm and experience to our company.”

Daniel has worked with Wayne, his supervisor and the team to ensure they are aware and understand his disease. “I take responsibility for my disease and the quality and safety of my work” Daniel explains. “Wayne and my supervisor Craig have been great in giving me this opportunity. The only thing they have requested of me is to keep them informed of how I am and anything else that may impact on my role. It has lifted my spirits to be doing the work I love, and can still do at a high level.”

Daniel’s message to employers considering employing someone with a disease or disability such as MS is simple. “Talk to the person first to understand the disease or disability and whether the they feel they are capable of doing the work at the level you require.”

Wayne’s advice is also simple “Give people like Daniel a go. Workplace Alliance has an opportunity and a moral compass that points to giving people like Daniel a chance. Workplace Alliance, Daniel and our team will benefit from this experience and others like it. We all have limitations, it is up to all of us to understand and work with each other to manage and minimise every limitation. Doing this enables us to get the best out of each moment and each other.”

For more information on MS visit the MS Australia website.

Photo – Daniel (left) with Supervisor Craig Kerr-Nelson