Jethro’s on a mission to give back to his community

Headshot of Michael Philipps
Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times
Jethro Hepton wants to educate the public about living with a disability while also giving back to the community.
Camera IconJethro Hepton wants to educate the public about living with a disability while also giving back to the community. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

Bunbury’s Jethro Hepton has made it his mission to give back to the community and educate people about living with a disability.

Jethro and his brother Jonathan made headlines in 1989 when the Bunbury community rallied to raise $35,000 to get them to the Petoe Institute in Hungary after they were diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Since then Jethro has become a disability lecturer at North Metropolitan TAFE and he is grateful to the community for putting him on that journey.

“I was very fortunate, it was a privilege to be inside people’s lives so early on,” he said.

“Because of that I went on this journey to give back to the community.

“I have always been taught that there is always someone worse off than I am and just because I have been fortunate to have the opportunities that I have, it doesn’t mean everybody in life is going to be afforded the same opportunities.

“So I learnt at an early age to give back to the community and to speak for those that cannot speak.”

Jethro said he had always had an interest in becoming a lecturer.

“I have been doing a lot of motivational speeches and volunteer workshops on disability awareness,” he said.

“I was working with a lot of access consultants through my own business that I had at the time and I met up with one consultant and we worked together for about seven years.

“She is a TAFE lecturer so she got me to go in to talk to a couple of her classes on what it is really like to have a person with a disability and from their perspective.

“I studied for my Certificate IV which is what you need to become a lecturer and then realised there was some casual positions at the TAFE so I applied.

“Then I noticed there was a part-time position at the start of this year so I applied for that and I have been lecturing there since then.”

Jethro Hepton.
Camera IconJethro Hepton. Credit: Jon Gellweiler / South Western Times

Jethro is thoroughly enjoying his role as a lecturer.

“It gives my students the perspective of what it is like from a person with a disability and they get the added bonus of actually being around someone with a disability,” he said.

“So when they go out to do the practical work component in the workplace they are not so scared and they don’t have the fear of the unknown.

“I say to my students that I am an open book so they are able to come and ask me anything they feel they need to and I will be the one to tell them how it is.”

Jethro is receiving positive feedback from his students.

“They have all said to me that they have had such a better experience at the workplace because they see me on a regular basis,” he said.

“They are able to come to me and ask me questions that they are not normally able to ask.”

Jethro believes the public’s attitudes towards people with a disability has improved.

“Going through this journey of employment I have also opened people’s eyes on employment for people with a disability within the mainstream employment sector,” he said.

“To my knowledge there are not a lot of people like me who have had the opportunity that I have got to be employed within my job.

“That has been a great learning curve for me but also for the TAFE as well.”

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