[Bridie] I can see shapes. Shapes and objects, colours…
I actually have to stare at the object to focus on it.
My name is Bridie Lee Cole. I’m 46, I’m from Perth.
I have 5% vision. I can see to about a metre.
And then after that everything is blurry. But I don’t see vision impairment as a disability.
[Carol] They’re just somebody just like you and I, who just doesn’t see very well.
I’m Carol Williams, I’m the disability employment services program manager for WA and Tasmania for VisAbility, and we’re partnered with CoAct.
I’d worked with people with disabilities but never someone with a vision impairment.
I seriously sort of look up and said ‘blind people? Can blind people work?’
I was so ignorant [laughs], I was that person once.
What we do at VisAbility is we are working to support vision impaired and blind people.
My role is mostly with employment.
I first met Bridie when we were running the On 2 Employment Program
She was so nervous, she actually had a little cry, and we just gave her a big hug.
In that course that we did, it was about interview techniques.
But also what we were doing it that we were showing them how to do it as a blind person.
[Bridie] Oh we just clicked on the first day!
It’s just like, you – you meet someone, and it feels like you’ve known them for years.
[Carol] Straight away I saw something in her and I just believed in her.
I knew that she could do this and get through it.
[Bridie] Having people like myself in the class was really great.
It was just a fantastic relief that ‘oh, there’s other people here’
That are in my situation as well, that wanna go out and look for work
[Carol] Vision impaired people are statistically fanstics for showing better OH&S
You’ll find they take less time off, and I might add
They’re incredible hard workers, and that’s proven because they’ll do volunteer work.
Unpaid work just to get that experience or just to show that they can do what everyone else can do.,
[Bridie] I had my support worker come and help me do a resume and a cover letter.
And I rang Community Life Span Centre and I asked
‘would they be willing to take some volunteer work’ and they said ‘yes’
If I didn’t do this course I couldn’t see myself doing the volunteer work or getting a job.
Food is an escape. It relaxes me. It’s something I love to do.
This job came up at Niro’s Café. I was looking for paid work, and I achieved that.
[Carol[ Here I have a café, that want to do food platters and food preparation.
It was a no brainer, it was a perfect fit.
[Bridie] I’m really looking forward to starting the first day there.
[Carol] This is something I love about VisAbility and what I do as well is that
You know, you can meet someone like Bridie, and when I first met her\
She was quiet, and introverted and wouldn’t speak, and when you see
This person blossom into something amazing!
I have full confidence that she’s going to be fine.
It was in her to do what she’s doing. She’s an amazing woman, she’s just a great human being.
Bridie’s employment journey has been sponsored by CoAct VisAbility
Since filming, Bridie secured paid work as a Kitchenhand at Niro’s Café
She has since been promoted to Birthday Liaison Officer and is loving her job,
Join the movement for change in disability employment coact.org.au/changethestory