Game, set, print: How one match led to a lifelong career.


May 16, 2024

It was a single game of table tennis – a sport Bruce both didn’t enjoy nor claimed to be any good at – that led him to a 37-year career in the print industry, where he met his now wife and found his voice for disability activism.

At the young age of 20, during a game of table tennis, a friend recommended Bruce to apply for a job at Tadpac, a Uniting social enterprise.

Established in 1965 by a group of people living with disabilities, Tadpac is a Uniting owned printing service based in Tasmania.

Bruce, who has used a wheelchair since birth, began working in reception at Tadpac Print’s joinery office. After a number of years this office was closed as the service decided to focus on print. He was then moved to the Sales Department and finally ended his career as the Tadpac Supervisor.

Unfortunately, after almost four decades at Tadpac Bruce’s health began to decline, and he could no longer manage full-time hours around his doctors appointments.

With decades of experience and lots more to give, Bruce decided to return to Tadpac as a volunteer.

Volunteering has helped Bruce keep his mind sharp and continue to be a mentor and advocate for others also living with disabilities.

“Bruce is a strong champion for our supported employees,” says Uniting Disability Services Coordinator, Vanessa.

“He is really committed to sharing his life experiences with the other supported employees to encourage them to pursue any dream they have. To not let their disability hold them back from anything.”

For Bruce, leading by example has always been important.

“I think words aren’t always as powerful as actions,” he says.

“When the employees with disabilities see that someone like me, in a wheelchair, can do this job and hold a management role it gives them hope.

“It teaches them that if you work hard, you can achieve anything.”

When reflecting on his life, Bruce has no regrets.

“Looking back, playing table tennis was probably one of the smartest things I ever did because I got a job at Tadpac where I met my wife,” reflects Bruce.

After 38 years together, Bruce still holds his wife Jo as his greatest motivator.

“Jo gives me the strength to go on. When she was younger, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and given 12 months to live,” says Bruce.

“She was determined to prove everyone wrong. And she did. I take a lot of my inspiration from Jo.”

Returning to Tadpac as a volunteer has been a rewarding experience for Bruce.

“After an amazing 37-year career, I wanted to give back to Tadpac,” he says.

“I want to thank them for having faith in me and my ability.”

Learn more about volunteering at Uniting.

Related News