Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 8 2010 Contents 42 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
defence magazine ›
When a Defence travel consultant suffered a major stroke in December 2003, she feared
her ability to be a valued employee would be seriously diminished.
At the time, Tanya Pascale worked in contract
management on higher duties with Corporate
Support and Infrastructure Group (now DSG) in
The stroke left Tanya with permanent partial
paralysis down her left side and reduced the
mobility of her left hand. She was hospitalised
and spent a total of 10 months away from work
When she was ready, she returned to Defence
working part-time on a return to work plan.
Within six months of that – and thanks to some
adjustments to her role and workstation – she
had recommenced full-time work in her old team.
“After having suffered such a major stroke and
being left with a disability, you initially feel like
you won’t be a valued employee any more,”
“That was certainly not the case. I even
received the support of the regional manager
who would visit regularly to make sure that I
was happy, my needs were being met and that
I was being looked after.
“During my hospitalisation and rehabilitation,
Defence supported me immensely. My rehab
co-ordinator, my manager plus Defence colleagues,
visited me on a regular basis. They kept me
informed of everything Defence was doing to
enable my smooth transition back to work.
“I was continually updated on what to expect next
and the anticipated timeframe. This made me feel
could exercise my legs, and walk in front of me
when I walked down. I would never have received
that level of support in the private sector.”
These days, Tanya is extremely grateful for the
support she received from Defence.
“They gave me the opportunity to return to
work and made me feel confident that I am still
a valuable and capable employee.”
Tanya’s story is but one which highlights
Defence’s willingness to fulfil its commitment to
the employment of people with disabilities and
promote diversity in the workplace.
To meet this commitment, Defence
undertakes reasonable adjustments to
understand and accommodate people with
a disability, whether their disability is visible
or not, permanent or temporary.
Reasonable adjustments can include specialist
equipment, flexible work arrangements and
building modifications to name but a few. The
goal is to assist people with disabilities to
overcome or minimise the impact of their disability
within the workplace.
However, the most important support for people
with disabilities is the understanding of their
work colleagues and management. This support is
crucial to making people feel welcome and valued
in the workplace.
like I was of value to Defence and that my skills
were still required. It felt good that I could stay
connected and contribute to the organisation.
“After all, I loved my job and returning to work
made me feel like my disability was not completely
During the consultation and examination period
with a Commonwealth doctor, Tanya expressed
her desire to return to full-time work and was
encouraged to maintain this vision throughout
As detailed above, Tanya’s eventual re-entry to
the Defence workplace was through a graduated
return to work plan. Tanya was encouraged to ask
for anything that would make the workplace more
adaptable to her changing needs.
“Defence purchased an ergonomic arm rest that
clips on to the side of my desk for my partially
unusable left arm, a headset so that I could move
around and other pieces of office equipment that
made my job easier. My workstation was tailored
to suit my needs,” Tanya said.
“Also, during my rehabilitation I focused on
learning how to touch type with my right hand so
that I could continue contributing to the work of
Tanya also speaks highly of her senior equity
adviser, who went above the call of duty.
“His support I will never forget,” Tanya said.
“This person would follow me up the stairs so I
PEOPLE STRATEgIES AND POLICY
By Belinda Hogarth-Boyd
LefT: Defence employee Tanya Pascale has utilised
Defence’s return to work plan after suffering a stroke.
A revised version of Studybank has been launched,
with changes ensuring Defence’s civilian employees
can access a studies assistance scheme that is
equitable, related to Defence capability requirements
and in keeping with changes in the Australian
Studybank has supported APS employees to
undertake Defence-relevant study since 1991, and
has assisted thousands to further their education
and gain nationally recognised qualifications through
universities, vocational education training providers
and other registered training organisations.
A review of Studybank concluded that the scheme
was well-known and used, but could better link
Defence and employee education needs, and be more
equitable, responsive and straightforward.
All ongoing Defence APS employees can apply
for Studybank. Applicants must discuss proposed
study with their supervisor and have it noted on
their PFADS/EPA as an endorsed learning and
Courses sponsored under Studybank may range from
certificate-level to post-graduate courses undertaken
in any study mode.
To assist Defence capability and guide employee
study choices, Groups and sponsors for occupational
streams (such as logistics, procurement and
contracting) have nominated courses that are
highly sought after or critical to capability for level
one support. Financial support at a lower level
is also provided for other courses that have well
demonstrated relevance to the employee’s current
or anticipated role.
Approved applications will enable employees to
access work release (previously known as study leave)
and financial support. Financial assistance of up to
$4000 (level one) or $2000 (level two) per year is
available to reimburse successful studies.
Work release is available for up to 45 hours per
subject, up to a maximum of 180 hours per year.
Where funding is exhausted, approvals may be
given for work release only.
WhAt iS the
After reading DPI 3/2010, employees should discuss
study options with their supervisor and decide an
appropriate course of study and work release pattern.
These should be recorded on the employee’s PFADS.
The employee completes Webform AB 161 and
submits the application via their supervisor to the
Group processing office before: 1 February – for
studies commencing in Feb-Jun, or 1 July – for studies
commencing in Jul-Jan.
For current recipients, all applications will be
assessed using the new two-level definitions, the
new form and the new deadlines. However, until 1
July 2012, employees who were Studybank recipients
in the second half of 2010 who are continuing their
studies in 2011 may opt to receive the old financial
benefits under DPI 4/2007.
Further detailed information can be obtained from
the web site at Studybank web-site
comWeb.asp?page=71274 or by e-mailing
aBOVe: The Studybank team (L-R): Peter Papapanou (delegate for DSG), Kay Kelly (national manager), Jill Jackson (AD
Education Assistance Schemes), Juanita Brown (delegate for OSCDF, Navy, Army, CDG, CFO, CIOG, I&S and PSPG,) Kylie Van’t
Hof (delegate for Air Force and DSTO) and Tony Cutroni (delegate for DMO, VCDF and JOC).
“After all, I loved my
job and returning to
work made me feel like
my disability was not
The equipment that Tanya
uses was provided through
the Defence Assistive
Technology Program (DATP).
This program supports
equipment for employees
DATP equipment often relates to computer use.
Commonly used products include:
Dragon naturally speaking – voice
activated software which replaces the need
to type. This product is often used by people
with arthritis, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI),
upper limb amputations or people who have
experienced a stroke.
zoomText – this software can magnify on-screen
text and change the colour contrast for easier
reading. This product is typically used by people
with vision impairment.
Job access With speech (JAWS) – this is
screen reader software that replaces the need to
read text on-screen. This product is also used by
the visually impaired.
Further details can be found on the Fairness
and Resolution Branch website at http://www.
Links Archive Issue 1 2011 Issue 7 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page