Paralympian Marayke dives into new job

Tuesday 10 November 2009

10 November 2009

University of the Sunshine Coast graduate and world class swimmer Marayke Jonkers has taken on a new challenge, helping university graduates with disabilities to find work.

Marayke, who gained two degrees from USC, is the new graduate employment consultant at STEPS Disability Qld Inc.

STEPS is an employment, community service and training organisation assisting people with a disability to become active and contributing members of their communities on the Sunshine Coast.

“I’m really excited about this job because I’m a USC graduate with a disability,” said the 28-year-old, who is training for the London 2012 Paralympics.

“I can appreciate the challenges graduates face but also the wonderful opportunities available.”

Marayke, who has a Bachelor of Arts (Communication) and a Bachelor of Social Science (Community Work), also runs a charity she founded called Sporting Dreams.

She won a silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games for the 150m individual medley and set a new world record for the same event at the national short course championships in Hobart in August.

STEPS Caloundra branch manager Darren Hilliard said Marayke offered a wealth of experience and would be a huge asset to the team.

Marayke, who uses a wheelchair, said her motivation was to make a difference to people’s lives and give back to the Coast community that had supported her.

“Everything I’ve done since graduating has been related to my USC studies – from helping the community to motivational speaking and writing for a magazine that supports not-for-profit groups,” she said.

Marayke pointed out that 20 per cent of the Australian population had some form of disability yet those who also had work skills often became very committed and loyal employees.

USC graduates wanting to participate in the program or businesses able to employ a graduate can email or call Caloundra STEPS branch on 5438 5519.

– Julie Gatehouse