A CAR accident forced Steve Hales to stop working but a Trigg business is helping him return to employment.
Herve Dutrenit has established Multi Care, which creates tailor-made mobility aids for people with disabilities and employs the user to build it themselves.
Mr Hales is Multi Care’s first paid employee and is making a hoist that will support him while he is upright.
“I sit and I’m in pain and I stand and I’m in pain,” he said.
“This stops me bending forward and will tilt the seat so I can work.”
The hoist will be controlled through an app on his mobile phone.
With a background in electronics, Mr Hales has enjoyed being able to recall his skills and learn new ones, including writing code.
“I just like coming out to work, keeping my brain going,” he said.
Mr Dutrenit, a mechatronics engineer, first had the idea for the hoist in his homeland of France; his grandfather used a mobility scooter but struggled to use basic facilities independently in his home.
“I thought we needed to have something fitted on to a wheelchair to make the patient be able to transfer to the toilet, to the bathtub and their own bed,” he said.
Mr Hales was linked with Mr Dutrenit through the State Government’s Disability Employment Services.
He is paid for his time working on the mobility aid, receives training from Mr Dutrenit and has applied for a grant to cover the cost of the device.
University interns also help with the project.
Mr Dutrenit said he hoped Mr Hales would continue with the business and though his idea was for people to gain work by building their own device, it could be done for them.
Not only will Mr Hales end up with a machine that will enable him to work pain-free, but he is enjoying paid work and learning new skills.