DISABILITY IS NOT INABILITY

So today we share Pete’s story and hopefully it would give hope to one if not more souls out there.Pete Bradley aces work and Outward Bound from his wheelchair.The wheelchair is a form of transport, not an excuse to fail.

Pete Bradley thought he was happy sitting at home playing computer games, but he credits his stepmother with forcing him to get off his backside – and into a rewarding career.

“I was 18 and out of school. All I wanted to do was play computer games and drink beers with my mates. But my stepmother wasn’t going to let me waste my life, so she encouraged me to do Outward Bound,”  Pete says.

If you spend much time with Pete, you realize that most of the credit should be his, as taking part in the physically challenging course was even more daunting for him than for most people.

“I’ve got smaller arms and legs than most people and a bit of a curve in the back. It makes me short and stops me running around as much as the All Blacks. But I don’t see myself as disabled. I’ve got the guts and determination that helps people treat me more normally.”

Achievements at Outward Bound helped Pete realize he had potential.

The course was tough, but it gave Pete a new view of his situation. “When we were walking up the mountain, I had to walk up the mountain too. Walking isn’t one of my strong points and we just took our time and plodded up the mountain.

“When I got back I realized that if I can climb a mountain and sail a boat, there’s no reason for me to sit here and play James Bond on the computer – it wasn’t going to progress me any further.”

So Pete went to Workbridge, an employment service for people with disabilities, where he was steered toward a training course for call center operators.

Pete credits the service for helping him get organized, and into a job. “They team you up with a co-ordinator. That was helpful to do my CV. I’m still using Workbridge. They provide me with taxis to get to and from work. If I need any assistance or equipment, I can refer back to them.”

Now, in his job at Christchurch City Council’s call center, it’s Pete who gets the opportunity to encourage others. “I get people that ring me up and go, ‘I’m in a wheelchair and I can’t do this.’ And I’m like ‘Hang on, I’m in a wheelchair too and I still manage to get my wheelie bins out and I live at home independently.’

“Life’s all about having experiences. Just because you’ve got a disability you can’t sit on your laurels and not have those experiences.”

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