“Ninety percent of the time I find a way” – Pat Majewski

Pat Majewski is looking at the camera. There is a green field behind him with trees further away

It’s hard to imagine a young person making more of an impression on us than Pat Majewski.

He’s a 17-year-old student in year 12 at Australind Senior High School who’s just completed his second work experience stint with Forrest Personnel. His assignments have been broad and have ranged from basic administrative tasks to participating in appointments with job seekers.

One of the goals of work experience is for people to find inspiration for future employment. We were keen to know if Pat had some idea of what he wants to do. Initially, he said he has no definitive plan. However, we wanted to dig a little deeper, because everyone has an idea – it just might need a little excavation.

Pat is sitting in his wheelchair on a pathway and is looking at the camera

Pat Majewski on the grounds of the Leschenault Leisure Centre. Photo by Rob Cox, oxy images

The heart of the matter

During our conversation for this story, we asked Pat if he was enjoying the discussion. He smiled and said “definitely.” Prior to the interview, we had observed him in the office next door putting pieces of paper in plastic sleeves.” We asked how he enjoyed that assignment. Pat explained that filling a plastic sleeve and putting it in a pile was very robotic. When asked to compare the two – having an engaging conversation verses plastic-sleeve filling – he was very clear that he’d like to have a people-centered job because, as he said, “everyone is different.”

We had unearthed a nugget! We zeroed in and asked about his ultimate goal. He told us that: “I want to help people live an easier and more enjoyable life. I want people to have the opportunity to develop into something different, something better.”

Pat is seated and is using a chest press at the gym

“Something different, something better,” says Pat as he puts his words into action at the Leschenault Leisure Centre gym. Photo by Rob Cox, oxy images

Keeping his options open

It certainly looks like Pat is setting himself up for success in terms of a people-centered career by keeping his options open. He’s completing his year 12 and Cert II in Business and Technology, he’s pursuing a Cert II in Community Services through a traineeship in neighbouring Brunswick and works part time in his parents’ business, he goes to the gym at the Leschenault Leisure Centre (LLC) and he pushes himself (in his wheelchair) for kilometers and kilometers to get to many of these destinations. Phew! Pat’s living a life that’s full to the brim with people and places. He seems to intuitively know that the more engaged we are, the better our chances of developing the connections that lead to destinations we are aiming for.

Out and about

We were keen to see Pat engaging with his broader community. He invited us to the gym at the LLC to see what that part of his life is all about. We were greeted with warmth and enthusiasm by staff Warrick and Leah, and could tell immediately that Pat was much at home and could get down to the business of pulling and pushing.

Pat is seated and is using a lateral pulldown machine at the gym

Pat in the gym at the Leschenault Leisure Centre. Photo by Rob Cox, oxy images

Life changing at age seven

For those not familiar with Pat’s rather extraordinary story, he had a life-changing accident at seven years when he was on a family holiday in Karajini. He fell, and his father fell in an attempt to cushion Pat’s fall. His father died instantly.

Finding his way

Surviving an accident of such magnitude surely builds resilience. We asked Pat if he feels limited by the long-term effects of his accident all those years ago. He explained that: “I can’t always do the things others do in the same way. But, I try and 90 percent of the time, I find a way.”

“You are so needed”

We’ve been fortunate to cross paths with Pat Majewski. Through conversation, we unearthed his desire for people-centered employment. We had the good fortune to accompany him to the LLC and see his physical prowess and determination in action. We’ve been inspired by the fullness of his life.

We hope Pat gravitates toward employment in human services. As Trish Satie, our Finance Officer, wrote on our internal social media feed: “I cannot wait for you to join this industry. You are so needed!”

Feature photo: Pat Majewski pictured outside the Leschenault Leisure Centre, March 2021. Photo by Rob Cox, oxy images.

Forrest Personnel is a local charity. We specialise in supporting people with health conditions, injuries and disabilities to find and keep jobs.

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