TODAY’S workforce is tough enough for young people just starting out, but for Tamworth TAFE student Jarrod Shackleton, there’s another hurdle he has to clear on a daily basis.
Jarrod is hearing-impaired, which presents a few more challenges than usual in the completion of his plumbing apprenticeship – not that he’s complaining.
“I love the hard work, which is a challenge, I love that the job can be different each day, at a different location, and I also enjoy meeting different people,” he said.
He’s proving himself a talent in his trade, too, recently being named among just 25 apprentice plumbers nationwide to secure a $1000 grant from Rheem.
Jarrod, who lives and works in Denman and makes a 370km round trip to Tamworth for TAFE every few months, says receiving instructions from his employer is probably his biggest on-the-job challenge.
“I receive a lot of hand signals and I lip-read, but it’s more watching and having a hands-on approach to everything,” he said.
“When I work under or on top of a house, I have an FM system which deaf people use.
“My boss has a microphone attached to him and when he talks into it, it goes straight to my hearing aids.
“This is the only way I can work under a house, as I cannot lip-read in the dark.”
Jarrod has two-and-a-half years to go before he’s a fully fledged plumber.
He paid tribute to his employer, Barry McLean Plumbing, for giving him an opportunity.
He said his disability had never led to any discrimination in the workplace; Jarrod also worked in a Chinese restaurant during his school years.
“I have never been doubted, because I am a positive person in what I think I can do,” he said.