Hireup Australia

How Jordan O'Reilly is fixing disability support with a mobile app

Putting people living with disability in the driver’s seat
Before he was the founder and CEO of Hireup, one of Australia’s most talked about purposeful businesses, Jordan O’Reilly was a brother on a mission to change the lives of people living with disability.
Jordan and Laura O'Reilly

Jordan O'Reilly with his sister Laura

As a carer and older brother to Shane, who had cerebral palsy, Jordan was motivated to pursue a career in occupational therapy, with the goal of improving the lives of young people living with disabilities.

While studying to be an occupational therapist at the University of Sydney, Jordan became a support worker and saw first-hand how existing models for care and support failed both the people with disability and their carers.

He noticed the way his younger brother’s passions were being disregarded in his day programs and was frustrated by the lack of opportunity Shane faced. In 2011, while still studying, Jordan and his sister, Laura, co-founded the charity Fighting Chance Australia.

Their vision was to find new ways to increase independence, inclusion and participation for people with disability, by creating scalable enterprises that would bridge the gaps in disability support and facilitate work and social opportunities.

Building on their success, in 2015 Jordan and Laura took another step toward a new future for people with disability, founding Hireup - an online platform that helps Australians with disability find, hire and manage their own support workers.

The idea for the website and app occurred to Jordan during his time at University, where he was surrounded by many wonderful OTs, who he knew would have been the perfect fit to help his brother Shane.

Jordan recalls how difficult it was to organise and manage Shane’s support workers, and how disempowering it felt not knowing who was going to come each day to provide care. “Sometimes the support workers were a great fit, but more often than not, they weren’t.”

Putting individuals in control, Hireup is Australia’s first online disability support network that matches support connections based on common interests and brings costs down by removing the need for intermediaries.

Since launching in 2015, Hireup has facilitated more than 10,000 connections, provided more than 900,000 hours of support, and saved the users of Hireup around $7.4 million in support funding.

Jordan says his younger brother, who passed away in 2011, continues to inspire him every day. In his memory, Jordan and Laura will continue to push to change the lives of people living with disability.

Jordan has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) from the University of Sydney and has won numerous awards for his innovative work in the disability sector.

In 2017, Jordan was named a Queen's Young Leader for his dedication to social enterprise, representing Australia alongside winners from 37 Commonwealth countries.

Other most recent awards:

Image credits top to bottom: Hireup Australia, Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, The Australian.

27 September 2018