WORK WANTED: David McNae, 23, is keen to turn his hand to a variety of roles but fears his autism diagnosis is putting off employers.
WORK WANTED: David McNae, 23, is keen to turn his hand to a variety of roles but fears his autism diagnosis is putting off employers. Chris Ison ROK271117cwork1

'Why do employers need to know about my disability?'

"I WANT to be like a normal citizen and work hard - I don't want to be on Centrelink."

David McNae has been out of work for the best part of four years.

He was unemployed for three years before getting a job late last year to only be laid off in July.

He has spent the past four months trying to find work only to come up short - and he has an idea why.

"They don't want to put me on because of my disability," Mr McNae said.

The 23-year-old Rockhampton man was diagnosed with autism at a young age.

"But I just look like a normal person that comes in off the street," Mr McNae said.

Working with an employment agency, he felt he was treated unfairly due to his disability.

"It is very unfair. The employment agency has to say I have a disability and I don't want it to be disclosed," he said.

Mr McNae said he had learned to manage his autism through the years and it didn't affect him in his work.

"Sometimes it affects my social skills and sometimes I get depressed, but I try to think positively, stop thinking negative thoughts and I have learned to look at people in the eyes when I'm talking to them," he said.

"I can socialise very well now."

Mr McNae attended North Rockhampton High School before dropping out of Year11 in 2011 due to bullying.

"I had a lot of people pretending to be my friends, teasing, trying to fight me," he said.

Despite not finishing school, Mr McNae has no trouble learning.

"I am very intelligible, I used to get As and Bs at school, I was in mainstream classes," he said.

Mr McNae has completed vocational certificates to improve his resume and become more readily employable.

He said he'd gained Certificate II in Retail Operations, Certificate II in Retail Services and was on his way to a Certificate III in Business Studies.

Although recently unemployed, Mr McNae has worked in a variety of roles from fast food and hospitality to cleaning and trolley pushing.

"I have a lot of experience, I have been working since I was 14," he said.

Desperate to try anything, Mr McNae is determined to get ahead in life.

"I just want to get my foot in the door. I want to pay my own way in life.

"I can work in hospitality, I have done that in the past, stock shelves at Woolworths, a labourer, a cleaner, a retailer - anything anyone wants to hire me for."



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