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The opportunities for people with CF are better than ever, and as medications and treatments improve things, so do career opportunities.

In a digital age, employers are becoming more flexible with offsite working arrangements and individual considerations for employees. However, CF is still unpredictable and can impact plans. Despite improvements, it is always good to consider certain aspects of job requirements and to speak to people in a career that interests you, to gain a better understanding of what is required.

The occupations and careers that our members work in are many and varied. Just a few examples include account management, government, photography, teaching, fashion design, youth work, nursing, yoga instruction, accounting and graphic design.


Read about Dan who studied science and community development

Choosing a career

It can be a great idea to discuss your career path with your CF Clinic team, family and friends who know you, your health and what might be a good fit for you.

Things to consider when choosing a career include:

  • Will it be too physically demanding for my lung capacity?
  • Is a more sedentary job a better idea?
  • Does this career pathway offer flexibility?
  • Are there other options within this industry that I can look at if my health deteriorates?
  • Is the air environment and quality good for my lungs? (for example, does it involve mining dust, spray paint or hair sprays?)
  • Will I be exposed to frequent coughs and colds?

Studying and CF

Most careers and full-time jobs will require some type of qualification. Studying or working part-time or full-time, while keeping up with social and family activities can be exhausting. At times, this can impact your health and hospital admissions may be required.

Studying can occasionally take a back step and as a result, you may need an extension or to defer the intended education period altogether. If you do require assistance with applying for an extension or deferment, you or a family member can call your state CF organisation to request assistance and advocacy on your behalf.

Under the Australian Disability Discrimination Act (1992), places of higher education must ensure that students with a disability receive non-discriminatory treatment. Each provider may have different requirements, so reference these before contacting your state clinic or organisation.

Tips for Time Management

Special entry and equity schemes

Some universities and TAFEs offer special entry or equity schemes that can provide further opportunity for students to access study. They take into consideration factors such as illness, financial hardship or other issues that may impact on a person’s ability to compete with other applicants.

Should I tell my tertiary provider?

Students may choose to disclose their condition prior to enrolling in order to:

  • Find out information about available support and services
  • Find out how to access services once they are enrolled
  • Discuss course requirements to ensure the appropriate course is chosen
  • Assist in the transition from secondary study to TAFE or university study.

Reasons not to disclose medical conditions include that: 

  • You may not require any additional support or services
  • You may wish to wait until you are certain about which institution you are attending
  • You may be uncertain about who will have access to your personal information.

It is not always essential to disclose specific medical or personal information about a disability prior to enrolment. What is most important is to provide information about how your disability impacts your capacity to study, and what support is needed to assist in providing the optimum environment for study to occur.

Considerations include: 

  • You may need to discuss the course requirements and negotiate how you will cope with the workload
  • You may need to point out that your quality of work could fluctuate according to your health
  • There may be times during the term when you are unable to work effectively and lecture attendance may be erratic
  • It can be helpful to discuss how you personally react to feeling tired or ill
  • You will need to work out a plan of how you will be able to get information that you have missed (for example, organise a study buddy who can send you any information or handouts).
  • You need to know what the procedures are if you are unable to attend exams
  • Whether there are special considerations during exams (for example, rest breaks, separate rooms or online)

Supporting documentation

Download our Factsheet for Educators for any supporting documentation you may require.

Government support for studying and working

Youth Allowance (16 years plus)

Can assist if you are a young person who is studying, undertaking training or an Australian apprenticeship, looking for work, or if you are sick.
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/youth-allowance 

Austudy

Financial help if you’re 25 or older and studying or an Australian Apprentice
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/austudy

JobSeeker

Provides financial help if you’re between 22 and Age Pension age and looking for work. It is also for when you are sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time.
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/newstart-allowance

Concession and Health Care Cards

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/concession-and-health-care-cards

Australian government provides assistance

For information on what the Australian government provides assistance with, visit Australian  Government Services
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/people-disability

Payments for people living with illness, injury of disability

For information on payments for people living with illness, injury of disability
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/payments-people-living-illness-injury-or-disability

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