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Herb’s near decade long struggle for employment

WORK WANTED: Herbert Ricks is finding it difficult to find work. He is concerned employers are being put off due to his epilepsy diagnosis.
WORK WANTED: Herbert Ricks is finding it difficult to find work. He is concerned employers are being put off due to his epilepsy diagnosis. Chris Ison Rokcwork

ALL Herbie Ricks wants is a chance to provide for his children.

The 40-year-old Rockhampton man has been unsuccessfully looking for work for more than eight years because he says employers are hesitant to hire a man with epilepsy.

"I am (frustrated) because I can sit there and paint houses...I have a horticulture certificate...I have worked for (tyre stores) and I am handy with timber but no one wants to employ me so I am just sitting here," Herbie said.

"(Employers) sit there and say, 'we are not insured for this so you need to go.'

"I have been fit free since 2009...I am happy to do anything."

Herbie has three children with his partner Shannon Bath, one of whom has type 1 diabetes and severe asthma.

With medical costs, bills, school fees and rent building up, Herbie and Shannon are worried about how far their money can stretch.

"I am on a disability pension and it is not a stable income," Herbie said.

"The medication our five year old needs to keep him alive every day is so expensive," Shannon added.

Shannon said watching her partner struggle to find a stable job has been frustrating, particularly when she knows had badly he wants to work.

In her search for jobs, Shannon found herself posting on Facebook page Rockhampton Classifieds.

"If there are small businesses that are doing it tough and looking for extra hands, we just wanted to get his name out there," she said.

"There might be a boss out there who is struggling to find workers, and my partner is here sitting at home bored out of his brain all day.

"He is a hard worker just like anybody else. Yes, he suffers from a medical condition but I just think he should be treated fairly."

Fast stats

Even with good seizure control, someone with epilepsy will not be able to get employment as a pilot, deckhand, fisherman or commercial driver

(Source: epilepsy.org.au)

In the 2015 September quarter, the unemployment rate in Rockhampton area was 10.12% while the state rate was 6.20%

Topics:  family, job cuts, unemployed, unemployment rate



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