Brisbane's Mathew Townsend has two degrees, a Masters degree in environmental management in sustainable development from the University of Queensland and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from James Cook University. He completed them in 2012 and 2016 respectively.
Brisbane's Mathew Townsend is looking for work and says employers discriminate against a person with a hearing disability. Brisbane's Mathew Townsend is looking for work and says employers discriminate against a person with a hearing disability. He is 25, well spoken, has completed a three-month internship with Telstra helping to deliver the National Broadband Network, and is what you could call quietly determined.
Mr Townsend has presented papers at three national conferences. Kevan Carter, Telstra's senior risk and compliance specialist, remembers Mat favourably when he worked with Telstra between July and September 2015.
"He did an internship with us. I found him most helpful and I was able to give him work to do and off he would go and delivered it on time... I found him most helpful actually." Mat Townsend cannot get a job - and he has applied for "thousands" of jobs. It is more of a story because Mat is hearing impaired and has a slight case of autism.
He believes employers are discriminating against him because of his hearing disability. "It's a social attitude," Mr Townsend said. "It's a really negative attitude." Mr Carter said working with someone with a hearing disability had not presented a communication problem.
"It just made you think. When I asked him to communicate with someone, I made it clear to the person that they had to speak clearly and succinctly and if they were in a room – allow him to read their lips."
Deaf Australia spokesman Kyle Miers – using an interpreter on the National Relay System - said discrimination was "sadly very common for people with a hearing disability."
He said while unemployment figures for Australians were not yet available, "in the United States it is in the high 70 per cent." "I know of many who have obtained masters, doctorates and still can't hold a job simply because he or she is deaf," Mr Miers said.