Preston achiever wins national award
Monday, 3 September, 2012
Left for dead following a horrific motorbike accident, a Preston
man has used sheer determination to overcome a traumatic brain
injury and a lifetime of illiteracy and now inspires others facing
similar challenges. He has been nationally recognised for this
incredible achievement. Preston resident Kelham George has been
named as the Achiever of the Year in the prestigious National
Employment Awards for Excellence.
Growing up surrounded by the violence, poverty and lawlessness
of Preston in the 1950s, Kelham was placed in a boy's home at eight
years of age. It was here that his formal education ceased.
Emerging illiterate at the age of seventeen, Kelham, relying only
on resolve and persistence, managed to establish a data cabling
career that spanned 22 years, developing his skills by watching and
learning from others.
At the age of 40, awaking from a coma long after a car
travelling at high speed collided with his motorbike, Kelham faced
his greatest challenge. Unable to walk or talk and suffering
extreme memory loss, Kelham's brain injury was so severe he
couldn't recognise his own family. Faced with an enormous
rehabilitation challenge, Kelham had forgotten how to relate to
"I was a very angry man," he said in a statement to the Awards
judges. "I was frustrated because I'd always stood on my own two
feet and now I had to rely on others," he said.
With the help of the team at MatchWorks, Kelham has been
focussed on relearning the skills he possessed before his accident
and has gained formal qualifications. He has devised his own
strategies to overcome his challenges with literacy and numeracy
and is always working on improving his ability to read and write.
His dedication and will to achieve make him a valued member of the
team at the aged care facility where he works full time as a
"Getting this job has made me move on with my life," Kelham
said. "It's like walking out of a fog, things just clicked."
Kelham recently bought a "renovators delight" in Preston and is
working hard to rebuild his relationships with his three children
and former partner.
"I started riding motorbikes again not long after my
accident, because that's just life. You've got to get back on the
bike," he said.
The National Employment Awards are hosted by the National
Employment Services Association (NESA) and are now in their eighth
MatchWorks is the largest Job Services Australia and Disability
Employment Services provider in Victoria and has 23 offices
throughout the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne, Bendigo,
Colac, Geelong and Warrnambool.
Kelham on YouTube.
Also see: MatchWorks at the National Employment Awards
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