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As the number of Australians unable to return to work following serious injury continues to increase

According to Safe Work Australia, the proportion of Australians who have made a permanent return to the workforce following injury or illness has been declining since 2016, down 5% over the last seven years.

For many people, their injury and resulting treatment may prompt them to reconsider next steps in their career. Moreover, changes in physical or mental capability, or the length of time away from work, may make returning to a previous role more difficult.

As someone who has experienced injury and successfully returned to the workforce, Diamond Creek resident Linten Attard, knows firsthand how difficult it can be.

Linten, now aged 50 years, sustained a serious injury following a severe burn to 86% of his body during a motorbike accident as a young adult. As a result of his injury, Linten lives with chronic pain and is an amputee, having lost all fingers on his left hand and most on his right.

“I was too young at the time to really know how the injury was going to affect me in the long run. I was focused on finishing my rehabilitation and then completing my schooling. When it was time to look for a job, I was worried about what my options would be”, said Linten.

In 2020, Linten moved from New South Wales to his home in Victoria. This was during the COVID-19 pandemic, and like many Australians, Linten found it challenging to find employment that was right for him.

“I’ve always been motivated to work and know it’s an important way to contribute to the community. I tried to get a couple of jobs but was finding it difficult to find work that would take me on, as a result of my injury and what I was qualified and experienced do to”, said Linten.

As Linten continued to be challenged to find employment on his own, a friend recommended he get in touch with atWork Australia, where he was connected with Job Coach, Mark. Mark saw Linten’s potential right away.

“Linten had the exact attitude many employers are looking for in a candidate. Despite his physical challenges as a result of his injury, he was passionate about finding something that suited his personal interest and skills, and really embraced the process”, said Mark.

Through the support and mentorship Mark provided, Linten began to build the confidence he needed to take the next steps to secure employment. Working collaboratively with Linten, Mark helped him to identify his key skills, what relevant experience he had, and what his main interests were.

“It was important for me to find a good fit for Linten, so we advocated on his behalf with potential employers who we knew would benefit from his unique skills and strengths. We made sure those skills and strengths were highlighted, like his dedication, resilience, and determination”, said Mark.

Since starting his new role as a Warehouse Cleaner for Bunnings in July 2022, Linten has gone from strength to strength, impressing his employers every step of the way. Looking back on his journey, Linten is proud that he reached out for help and is grateful for the support Mark, and the atWork Australia team, gave him.

“We tried a number of opportunities, and I had many knock backs, but Mark was as persistent as I was to get a job. I finally landed a position which I am very grateful for”, said Linten.

atWork Australia recognise the importance of working alongside employers, to connect them with eager and job-ready candidates like Linten. To find out more about atWork Australia’s support services, please visit:


Safe Work Australia. (2021). 2021 National Return to Work Survey Report.

atWork Australia has been delivering employment services on behalf of the Australian Government since 2003. From more than 400 locations around the nation, atWork Australia delivers Disability Employment Services (DES), Workforce Australia and ParentsNext, connecting people and business so both can thrive.

Partnering with more than 6700 employers across the country in 2021, atWork Australia placed over 19,000 Australians into meaningful and sustainable employment in 2021, across a diverse range of industries and occupations.

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