29 October 2015
A University of the Sunshine Coast student who has been blind since birth is planning to use his Social Work degree to become an advocate for people with disabilities.
Blake Ison, 21, of Mooloolaba, was inspired to enrol in a Bachelor of Social Work through his part-time work with local disability employment agency Steps Employment.
“In my role, I work with quite a diverse range of clients and attempt to help them gain employment,” Blake said.
“For a number of years now I’ve come to realise that social work is the avenue I’d most like to pursue, as it will allow me to utilise the experience I already have and develop the skills I need to better support people with disabilities.”
While he is still a first-year student, Blake is already planning to combine the knowledge and skills he will learn in USC’s innovative Social Work program with his own professional and personal experiences in the disability sector, in order to advocate for more inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities.
“Many people with disabilities are still able to work, and are able to do the sort of work that a non-disabled person can do,” he said.
“Often people are most limited by the circumstances or environment around them. But unfortunately a lot of people in the community don’t seem to see that.”
Blake, who had previously completed first-year law subjects, said the support he’d received while studying at USC’s Sippy Downs campus was “fantastic”.
“The facilities are world-class, and the support that’s available is wonderful,” he said. “In my experience, the organisational structure within the university is second to none.”
When he’s not at university or working, Blake volunteers as a radio operator at Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club, where he has notched up an impressive 8000 patrol hours in nine years.
— Jarna Baudinette