Andrew Newell pictured with his medals

With many people around the world watching the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Ventia employee Andrew Newell will be cheering for the para-athletics team like Australia did for him at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.

Andrew won two bronze medals in athletics at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics in the men's 100m and 400m T20 event. T20 is a classification for disability athletics in track and jump events, which broadly covers athletes with intellectual disabilities.

We recently welcomed Andrew to the Ventia team to work on our NSW Whole of Government Facilities Management Services contract, which has provided more than 130 jobs for people with disability.

As part of our commitment to reflect the community we serve, Ventia strives to provide meaningful employment to people from diverse backgrounds, which includes people with disability.

Andrew began his running career quite late in life, after being recognised for his talent in senior high school.

"When I was 17 at school, I was fast. I went to Adcock Park at Gosford and Gerry Thomas saw me and said I should run in the Sydney Paralympics, so he discovered me," Andrew said.

Andrew said competing in the Sydney 2000 Paralympics was the highlight of his life.

"That was the best time of my life, running in front of 120,000 people," Andrew said.

"My mum and dad were there, my aunties and uncles and cousins, it was amazing."

Two 2000 Paralympic gold medals won by Andrew Newall

Andrew won two bronze medals at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics

Andrew also came seventh at the 2002 IPC Athletics World Championships before retiring from the sport in 2012 due to injuries.

While he hung up the running shoes some time ago, he still holds the records for the 400 metres (47.33 sec), the 200 metres (21.22 sec) and the 100 metres (10.8 seconds).

Andrew also received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honour's List "for services to athletics and to the community of the Central Coast'.

After athletics, Andrew worked in his father's landscaping business until two years ago when his dad retired.

Andrew said he found it hard to get some jobs due to difficulties he has with reading, spelling and maths. 

Having reached the pinnacle of his chosen sport, Andrew is now happy working as a cleaner on the Central Coast at Moriset Public School. 

"I wanted a job and I needed more money to pay my mortgage," Andrew said.

I like my job and working with all the employees and the teachers are really nice. It's good to have an income to pay my mortgage.

Andrew's job involves vacuuming, changing the bins, cleaning desks and benches, mopping the floors and cleaning the toilet block.

"My supervisor Kristy explains what I have to do so I don't have to read it."

A great fit!

Ventia Disability and Social Inclusion Manager Daniel Osgood said Andrew applied for the role after hearing about the job through a friend, and he was proving to be a great fit for the organisation.

"During the recruitment process Andrew shared that he had an intellectual disability, so I talked to him about what level of assistance we could provide to ensure his needs and way of learning were adequately supported," Daniel said. 

With Andrew's disability we knew our traditional training would not maximise the unique skillset he offered, so this was modified to give him every opportunity to excel in his new role. 

"Ventia Project Director Matthew Cook was blown away by Andrew's achievements and we had a discussion around what I could do to train Andrew up one-on-one.

"We took photos of Andrew doing various tasks so that he had visual cues rather than having to comprehend something written, which is a barrier for him. 

I'm really excited for Andrew's future working at Ventia and he is already proving to be an asset to our team through the passion and pride he has making a difference in our community.

The Commonwealth Games is being held in Birmingham, England from 28 July to 8 August. It will feature the largest para-sport program to date, with eight para-sports being contested. 

Work for Ventia today

Ventia is looking for cleaners to service our School & TAFE facilities across the Newcastle, Central Coast, Upper Hunter and Western Sydney areas of NSW. 

For more information and to apply go to:

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