“Thanks to NIISQ, I was in the best position to focus on my return to work.” 

Before he sustained a spinal cord injury, NIISQ participant Gamini spent busy days in his workshop as a diesel fitter. He now spends busy days in his workshop as a diesel fitter. Gamini’s injury has not stopped him from continuing his parts sourcing and vehicle repair business at his self-built workshop in his Brisbane-based property. 

“After my injury, I thought I would have to sell my business. I have more than 2,000 customers who depend on me for parts, so I wasn’t the only one hoping I would be able to return to work,” he said. 

Gamini had a strong motivation to return to work even in the initial stages of his rehabilitation. His NIISQ Support Planner worked with him alongside Spinal Life Australia’s Back2Work program to find a way to support him in continuing his life-long passion. 

A staged process was followed to ensure Gamini had the right support to achieve his goals. His NIISQ Support Planner first helped him to transition to his home life. In addition to equipment, carers and domestic assistance, NIISQ coordinated bathroom modifications, a lift and automated gate at Gamini’s house to help with his transition. He has also attended hydrotherapy and an exercise physiology program, all funded through NIISQ. 

A return to driving assessment was next on the agenda, and vehicle modifications funded through NIISQ helped him to claim his independence and attend cultural events. 

“Everything has been a life saver. Thanks to NIISQ, I was in the best position to focus on my return to work,” Gamini said. 

People living with spinal cord injury can have difficulties regulating their temperature, so Gamini’s Support Planner found ways for him to sit comfortably in his home office to use his computer and stay connected to his work. This included funding air-conditioning in his home office and partially funding concreting outside of his house to help him to access his workshop. 

Through the Back2Work program, Gamini secured funding from the Australian Government’s Employment Assistance Fund for a wheelchair that allows him to stand in an upright position. 

“I can still do nearly everything I did at work before my injury, and it’s all because I can stand up in this chair,” he said. 

Congratulations to Gamini on achieving his goal of returning to work! 

Last updated: September 2022