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Works for me

It was on my 25th birthday, in 2010.

And I dove into my pool, something I've done a thousand times, and it was just that little few inches, give or take, just where...

I can't really remember where.

I think I just skimmed the bottom of the pool.

And my neck's just slowly creased back and dislocated.

And it's just pinched on the, the spinal cord.

Yeah, and it sort of left me what I am now, as a C5/C6 incomplete quadriplegic.

NARRATOR: Jake Briggs was a qualified carpenter with one of Australia's largest construction companies.

After my accident, the main thing that I was worried about was my future employment.

There are lots of Australians living with disabilities that aren't employed or don't have jobs.

Jake's one of thousands of Australians who will experience a life-changing accident.

I don't want to fit the stereotype. I just want to get out and have a go.

He's proud of his Indigenous heritage, but he's shocked that only 13% of Indigenous Australians with disabilities have jobs.

GRAEME INNES: Employment levels for people with disability in Australia are appalling.

That's because of an attitude barrier that exists amongst a lot of people making employment decisions regarding people with disability and also about a whole lot of myths that exist about employing people with disability which we need to bust.

Jake knew he'd never wield a hammer again, but he wanted to work.

JAKE: Yeah, it's hard.

You know, just being amongst this stuff, you know.

When I look at certain things that I used to use that I used to be able to hold in my hands and I can't anymore,

it's pretty tough. But life goes on.

I've just got to deal with it.

Jake's employers retrained him.

He's gone from wielding a hammer to preparing contracts.

He only needed minor modifications.

Hands-free phone and voice-activated software.

Wake up.

Dragon voice activation software.

So I'm an assistant contracts administrator.

I've been involved with financial and commercial risk management within the letting of subcontractor agreements, financial reporting, drafting of agreements and some subcontractor management.

And at the moment, well, we've just finished up that you can see behind me, at the face of the casino, and the hotel behind it at the same time.

I feel fortunate with the support I have from work.

And that gives me the opportunity to be a voice for the disadvantaged, which I'm really happy and determined to be a part of.

Jake's joined the board of the Aboriginal Disability Network to seek employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians with disabilities.

High school sweetheart Amy has also stood by him.

I'm very proud of what Jake has achieved since...well, both pre and post accident.

There is a complaints process available to all Australians.

The goal is for more employers to recognise the value of employing people with disabilities.

Jake's now focused on the life he always dreamed of.

And throughout the whole period of my accident, Amy's always been there, and she's never taken a back step.

It's always moving forward with me, so... I can't ask for anything else more, so...

And, you know, I'm just stoked I get to marry her next November on the 30th.


How romantic.