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Jerry injured his shoulder at work and then found that thanks to COVID-19, his Airport job no longer existed. Find out how the KINNECT team supported Jerry to recover and secure a new job in a new industry, all in the middle of a pandemic 


How it happened 

Jerry-Lee Van Cornewal, 52, worked at Brisbane Airport as a valet car parking attendant. He injured his shoulder at work by lifting a bag out of a customer’s boot. After waiting a few weeks, thinking it was just a pulled muscle, he returned to his GP to see what he could do about the pain and speed-up his recovery. During an ultrasound, Jerry was shocked to discover he had 2cm tear in the tendon of his shoulder requiring surgical intervention.   

This was Jerry’s first time dealing with a Worker’ Compensation claim and he wasn’t at all familiar with the process. After lodging his claim, WorkCover QLD expedited Jerry’s medical appointments and processed all his expenses and claims. His surgery was booked in a private hospital with a topnotch surgeon and nurses where he received excellent care and started his recovery process.  

Jerry said: “WorkCover had done an excellent job and now handed me over to KINNECT to start their recovery process.”  


Enter the A-Team 

At this point, Jerry was put in contact with Elizabeth Patterson, an Occupational Therapist and Team Leader from KINNECT. Liz’s job was to help Jerry with his injury rehabilitation, set some goals for his recovery and organise any additional support needed along the way. Liz arranged to meet Jerry at his house as he couldn’t drive anywhere due to his shoulder injuryLiz organised people to help clean the house, mow the lawns and do the jobs he couldn’t currently manage around the house. She also organised for recovery in various physiotherapy appointments and doctors appointments.  

Building a pandemic-proof career strategy

As Jerry began to recover physically, another problem became apparent.  It was 2020 and the COVID pandemic was in full swing. With airlines and airports bearing much of the pain around the world, Jerry’s original job at the airport was no longer a viable option. 

Realising that Jerry would need further assistance to gain new employment, Suzie Rigby, KINNECT Psychologist began to work with Jerry.

Suzie helped Jerry to identify and leverage his transferable skills and experience and they collaborated to develop a more strategic approach to his recover at work plan – to build confidence and capacity.  Working with Jerry to find the right kind of host employment opportunity which could draw on his extensive work history as an employment prospect was a challenge that Suzie embraced.

Securing a new start 

Job hunting in a pandemic was no easy task with an increasing number of applicants for dwindling supply of jobs.  Working alongside fellow KINNECTer, Rhys Thesalonikeos, together the team found what they thought could be a perfect job placement for Jerry, a family business of 40 years, TAS Security TAS recognised that Jerry had significant experience in the security industry and immediately saw his potentialSuzie and Rhys organised Jerry’s Recover at Work Plan to ensure continuity in his rehabilitation and return to work. 

It couldn’t have worked out better. Within one month, Jerry was promotedFour months on, Jerry has fit into the TAS Security culture and become a valued member of the team.   

Daniel, of the TAS Security Management Team added: “Jerry has bought a remarkable amount of energy to the role and we are glad to have him as a member of the team.”

On his recovery, Jerry has been keen to share his experience and sing the praises of the team who helped him.  

Jerry said: “I was absolutely impressed with KINNECT in every way. I am not a young man, 52 in fact, so I have never encountered this Workers Compensation process before. I found the process very easy to understand because of the wonderful people you guys at KINNECT. Thanks to everyone involved, from the start to finish, I couldn’t recommend the team highly enough.”

Kevin Conlon, Chief Executive at KINNECT, added: “This is a wonderful example of the difference that KINNECT and our partners can make to achieve the goal of a worker. I am so proud of this amazing team and the work they do to ensure we are create sustainable value and thank each of them for making a difference.” 

If you need help in recovering from an injury and getting back to work, KINNECT’s A-Team can help.  Give us Workplace Rehabilitation team a call today on 1300 546 632 or visit 



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