Looking beyond the chair

Nov 29, 2021

Sean Perkins 1440x1080

Sean started at the Mint in April 2021 as an administrator for the procurement team. Those who work closely with Sean, describe him as quiet, reserved, and shy initially but once you get to know him, he is chatty, friendly, and easy going. He gets along well with people and enjoys some good banter.

Seven years ago, Sean was a FIFO worker for BHP, enjoying his time off doing any type of outdoor activity that kept him and his friends busy, camping, fishing, riding dirt bikes, etc. But suddenly, everything changed.

“I was 20 years old, had been diagnosed with anxiety a few years before, and being active was the way I found to release my nerves or fears. Then I had a bike accident where I broke my spine. After around eight surgeries and a long time at the hospital, I found myself having to start a new life in a wheelchair,” he said.

"In my case, you can see the wheelchair. But there are other conditions that are not visible. So being empathetic, being aware and showing genuine care for the person, it’s something that would make anyone’s journey easier."

 Even though Sean has periods of lacking confidence, the whole process made him mature a lot.

“Sometimes I feel I am perceived as someone who’s ‘not capable of…’ or that there are a lot of expectations I need to fulfill. But I realised I first needed to learn to accept my new reality and move forward as I always did. I now enjoy new hobbies like gardening, making BBQs and spending time with my car.”

About his experience at the Mint, Sean adds: Compared to any other employer the Perth Mint has been very proactive with their Diversity and Inclusion program, not only in their speech but mainly with facts. I am grateful to APM, Management and the People and Culture team for giving me the opportunity to be here. I work with very talented people and sometimes it’s intimidating. But they have always offered me the right tools for me to learn and improve in my role. When people see beyond the wheelchair and make you feel your opinion is valid, you can progress. If the company looks after me, I’ll look after the company.”

Sean also expresses that it is important that people recognise that no two disabilities are the same, nor people who experience them.