Quad­ri­plegic lands his first job in more than 25 years

Brett loves GC Air­port HR role

Tweed Daily News - - BIG READ LIFE - Rick Koenig [email protected]­dai­lynews.com.au

IN WHAT is a tale of in­spi­ra­tion and hum­ble­ness, quad­ri­plegic Brett Mor­ris has landed his first job in 25 years af­ter the Gold Coast Air­port gave him a long-awaited lift in life and took him on-board.

The 46-year-old Tweed Heads res­i­dent has been in a wheel­chair and un­able to find work since a rugby league ac­ci­dent in Dalby when he was 21 left him with a bruised spinal cord and dam­aged ver­te­brae.

“I was play­ing a game of rep footy and just do­ing a nor­mal tackle when one of the other play­ers came over the top of me and landed on my head. It was then I heard my back crack,” Brett said.

“At first, I was a quad­ri­plegic from the neck down, but about three to four months af­ter the ac­ci­dent I be­gan to get some feel­ing back in my body and get some move­ment back in my arms.

“I was very lucky.” Two years ago, Brett took a trip to New Zealand and loved it so much he de­cided to try and get into the travel in­dus­try.

He stud­ied for six months to be­come a vol­un­teer am­bas­sador at Gold Coast Air­port and was sta­tioned at the air­port’s new in­for­ma­tion desk in the ter­mi­nal’s busy check-in hall – spe­cially de­signed to ac­com­mo­date his wheel­chair – where he helps pas­sen­gers nav­i­gate their way through the ter­mi­nal.

Brett, who trav­els each day on his elec­tric buggy along the beach­front from Tweed Heads to Coolan­gatta, proved to be so good at his job he was rec­om­mended by man­age­ment for a hu­man re­sources role with the air­port’s food and bev­er­age con­trac­tor.

“I was re­ally ex­cited to get the role, it was great news and good to just have a job and have a bit of money again,” Brett said.

“I let them know I wanted a job while I was vol­un­teer­ing there and then this po­si­tion came up so it all worked out per­fectly.

“I do em­ployee reviews and show the new em­ploy­ees around the air­port, I do all the new in­duc­tions and just help out with the ad­min­is­tra­tion and what­ever they re­quire me to do.

“I love it, I look for­ward to go­ing to work and I’ve found some­thing I’m pas­sion­ate about.”

Brett, who con­tin­ues to vol­un­teer two days a week as a Gold Coast Air­port am­bas­sador while also work­ing three days a week, says he gets to see “the best of both worlds”, and also gets to spend some flexi time on his com­puter at home com­plet­ing pa­per­work.

“I get to do a bit of vol­un­teer­ing and do my other job on other days, I get to meet more peo­ple and just in­ter­act with them, it’s fan­tas­tic.”

And while Brett doesn’t see him­self as an in­spi­ra­tion, he is hope­ful of help­ing any­one else who may be in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion.

“I don’t re­ally see it as that (an in­spi­ra­tion), I just see it as some­one go­ing back to work, but if it helps some­one that’s great, I hope it does.”

Air­port Re­tail En­ter­prises man­ager Nathan O’brien, said hir­ing Brett was “one of the most re­ward­ing things I have ever done.”

“We have no­ticed a def­i­nite cul­tural change in the work­place since Brett started with us,” Mr O’brien said.

“His en­thu­si­asm and pas­sion is in­fec­tious.

“He has helped us re­ally fo­cus on peo­ple’s strengths and what each per­son can bring to our busi­ness.

“Brett has got ideas I wouldn’t have thought of and his role just grows ev­ery day.”

PHOTOS: NIGEL HAL­LETT

WIN­NING AT LIFE: Quad­ri­plegic Brett Mor­ris haslanded his first job in 25 years at the Gold Coast Air­port.

Brett Mor­ris, his boss Nathan O'brien and new air­port staff.

Brett Mor­ris is now work­ing in hu­man re­sources at the air­port fol­low­ing a vol­un­tary am­bas­sador role.

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