Group of people standing and posing for photograph

genU employee Ashley McDowell wins Achievement Award

Congratulations to genU employee, Ashley McDowell who won the 2022 Achievement Award at the Geelong Awards for People with Disability last Friday.

Ashley was one of three local people with disability recognised for their achievements in advocacy, leadership and empowering others. Presented by the City of Greater Geelong, genU was proud partner of the 2022 Awards, held to celebrate diversity and inclusion on International Day of People with Disability.

A genU employee since 2012, Ashley lives with an auditory processing delay, plus anxiety and depression. He started supported employment in land care and over time, progressed into packaging and transport roles. When he eventually secured open employment as a delivery driver in 2021, he was thrilled.

“Stepping back into mainstream employment last year was exciting,” Ashley said. “Every day is different and being able to get out on my own is awesome.

“It’s meant a lot to me to be able to step-up and look after my family. My partner, she has Asperger’s, and my daughter, she has an intellectual disability.”

Ashley described winning the award as “awesome” and a surprise.

“We all got our nomination slips. Then realising there were 13 nominees and only three of us won…I was really humbled by it and proud of myself. All the hard work has paid off.”

Congratulations to all award nominees, including Volunteering Award winner, Mackenzie Sinclair and Leadership and Advocacy Award winner, Priscila Pettiford.

Left to Right: Clare Amies, genU CEO; Mackenzie Sinclair, Volunteering Award winner; Priscila Pettiford, Leadership and Advocacy Award winner; Ashley McDowell, Achievement Award winner; Deputy Mayor Anthony Aitken, chair of the Council’s Volunteering and Disability portfolio and Emma Wheatland, Coordinator Community Inclusion Unit, City of Greater Geelong.