Harley the helper

By James Arbuthnott

ELMORE occupational therapist Harley Hayes has clearly chosen the right profession after being presented with the Early Career Excellence Award from Allied Health in front of more than 200 of his peers in Melbourne recently.

After just two years in the job, Mr Hayes won the award for inspiring and innovating excellence within the Australian business community — and he could not be happier.

“I’m truly honoured to be recognised among such a high calibre of finalists,” he said.

Currently employed at Everyday Independence in Bendigo, Mr Hayes quickly showed natural leadership and mentor skills for new graduates to help those with behavioural concerns find and engage in meaningful work in their communities.

“It truly takes a large amount of courage to allow therapists into your home and to share your dreams, hopes and aspirations,” Mr Hayes said.

“Every day I learn something new from families and participants about how I can be a better occupational therapist, and they continue to show me why they are the experts in their own lives.”

And with a passion for social models of disability, the NDIS and employing regional professional services where needs are often not being met, Mr Hayes said he is lucky to work with innovative, evidence-based solutions to problems within the disability sector.

“I would like to thank the team at Everyday Independence who has given me this opportunity and supported me to continue to learn and grow as a clinician, and to my family and partner for allowing me to constantly push myself to be the best OT I can be,” Mr Hayes said.