While Shane Agnew has faced his fair share of hurdles since sustaining the spinal cord injury that left him a ventilated quadriplegic, his sights are firmly fixed on the future thanks to his steely resolve and his Challenger TAFE training.
The San Remo resident is completing a Certificate IV in Information Technology (Websites) at the College’s Peel Campus and has made great progress toward his goal of becoming a professional web designer, having already developed his own website, higherthansuperman.com.
His website takes its name from the fact that Shane broke his neck higher than did the late Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman. This amazed his doctors, who rarely see anyone survive that type of injury.
Shane credits his training at the College, and in particular his lecturer, Marilyn Ranford, with helping him realise his professional goals.
“I’m really enjoying the course, and everyone at the College has provided great support, particularly Marilyn,” he said.
“I had an interest in computers before the accident, but I was always too busy to sit still long enough to develop my skills.”
Marilyn said Shane had a positive effect on other students and that he was an outstanding student irrespective of his disability.
“Shane has a great presence in class, and is really missed when he’s unable to attend,” she said.
“He serves as a great example to other people with disabilities by showing that they too can have promising futures and rewarding career paths through training at the College.
“By the same token, his commitment is such that he is indeed inspirational to all students, whether disabled or able-bodied.”
The support Shane receives at Challenger TAFE supplements that he receives from his mum Sue, other support staff and, in particular, his fiancée Raquel Tacey.
Technology also plays a large part in Shane’s training. He wears a special fluorescent patch on his chin that is ‘read’ by a receiver mounted to his laptop, replacing the traditional mouse and making his web design truly hands-free.
Shane has started his own business: No Hands Web Design, and is currently looking to set up a website for the Pinjarra Football Club to develop his skills further.