Big W embraces Abe’s skills

ABE Tuohey loves his new job at Big W after spending years searching for work. 

The 27-year-old Bendigo resident, who was born deaf, has worked at the Bendigo store for about two months. 

He communicates with customers and staff members through a sheet of paper and said he was happy at the store. 

“I tried to find jobs everywhere ... it was really hard,” he said through a sign language interpreter. 

“I moved to Melbourne, tried to get a job there, then moved back to Bendigo and tried again. 

“It’s great working here, seeing people happy, making people happy and enjoying being busy.

“I’m happy to have gotten a job here and I really want to stay here and keep going.” 

Customers are also pleased to be served by Mr Tuohey, who works on the registers. 

The store has received several letters from people praising Mr Tuohey. 

Laurie Glover, who is vision impaired, was served by Mr Tuohey last week. 

“I hope he’s successful,” Mr Glover said. “I always appreciated when someone gave me a job so I wish him all the best.” 

Kristy Simpson of Inglewood said she had had no issues when dealing with Mr Tuohey. 

“I think it’s great, absolutely brilliant,” she said. “It was surprising, but it’s really good though.”

His boss Helen Leech said Mr Tuohey’s eye’s “lit up” when he was offered the position. 

“It’s all been positive, there haven’t been any hassles,” she said. “There was a bloke the other day with tears in his eyes who shook his hand and said it was great he had a job.

“He makes everyone happy ... you can’t be unhappy when you’re around him. 

“And he’s always on time, well dressed, and always puts his hand up for extra shifts.” 

Lindsay Rose of Access Employment assisted Mr Tuohey in his job search and said he showed what people with impairments could achieve. 

“The statistics show it’s more likely to work out,” he said.  “People with impairments want a job that badly that they work hard to keep them. 

“It’s not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do.” 

HARD WORKING: Abe at work at Big W Bendigo. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

HARD WORKING: Abe at work at Big W Bendigo. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY


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