Meet the Crew: Andrew Diggines

Name: Andrew Diggines

Compass Crew Since: 2009

Role: Compass Farm Manager

What attracted you to this role?
I was electrician before my role with Compass. I liked helping young people achieve their goals and dreams and I thought I could transfer my skills to people with disabilities in the same way as my apprentices.

What is the favourite part of your day at Compass?
My interaction with our trainees. Every day they surprise me and teach me something new. I like coming to the farm early in the mornings. It is a quiet and magical place; it prepares me for the day ahead.

What is something you have learned as a result of working in the disability support sector?
I’ve learned a lot working in the disability sector, everybody has a gift. Our trainees might have a disability and have lost something or are unable to do something but there is always another side, there is always something they have been gifted with. I have learned a lot about myself as well, about how lucky I am, how it is not all about money or a goal, it is about the journey and enjoying the moment. I love how honest the trainees are – sometimes cutting – but always honest.

What is something you wish people knew about your role or about the disability community?
I would like the community to know that even though we have a disability we have something to offer. This may not be in a conventional way or in the ability to do a job, but they can bring happiness and joy, the willingness to accept everybody with no judgement. I would like people to know that my role, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing jobs that anyone could have. The opportunity to guide, mentor, change people’s lives in a positive way and not only their lives but also their families’ lives. There are many stories and incidents that I have been lucky enough to have been part of that have profoundly changed the course of somebody’s life for the better.

If there was anything you could change, what would it be?
If there was anything that I could change it would be that large organisations and businesses would employ a person with a disability – the benefits of this, nationwide, would be huge. I also wish that everybody had the opportunity to interact with a person with a disability to breakdown those barriers and assumptions that people have. At the end of the day, we are all human and everyone has something to offer, it’s just getting the opportunities.

Any final words / comments / funny anecdotes etc?
I have many comments or funny anecdotes but I think my final words would be I believe everybody with a disability should have the opportunity to contribute and to live their lives to the best of their abilities with the support of the community. Not just taking but truly living and contributing to our nation.