Joe Michell Award 2021

Ability WA is delighted to open applications for the Joe Michell Award for 2021.

The Joe Michell Award provides scholarships of up to $10,000 to people aged between 16 and 25 years to assist them in accessing education for employment or to develop their businesses.

The scholarship can be used to pay for costs associated with university, TAFE, online courses, short courses, or business coaching.

Who was Joe Michell?

Joseph Michell OBE was one of the founding parents of the Spastic Welfare Association of Western Australia, now known as Ability WA. Joe and his wife had a son Warwick, who was born with cerebral palsy in 1940. At that time, the young parents did not know much about cerebral palsy or their young son's future challenges.

Whilst stationed in New Guinea in 1943 during the Second World War, Joe read an article in a 1939 edition of the Readers Digest Magazine. One article caught his attention. Entitled 'Salvaging the Spastics', the article described cerebral palsy and featured the story of Dr Earl Carlson, who overcame his challenges living with cerebral palsy to graduate from Yale Medical School and launch a career of international repute. The article outlined how Dr Carlson met his challenges with strong self-confidence and self-discipline.

For the first time, Joe saw a fantastic future for his son Warwick. But he knew that Warwick would need suitable support and a solid education – which did not exist for people living with a disability at the time.

Joe came back from war inspired to make a difference in the lives of people living with disability and promote public awareness of cerebral palsy – and the rest, as they say, is history.

In honour of Joe Michell, the Michell family established this award in his honour to help young people living with a disability access a good education.

How you can apply

The Joe Michell Award is open to all Ability WA customers between the age of 16 and 25 years.

You can submit your application in writing, audio recording, or video. Your application must include a written reference from someone who knows you well – such as a teacher, mentor or therapist, and include a quote from the organisation delivering your chosen course.

**Download an application form here***

Applications close 5 pm Thursday, 3 February 2022. Winners will be informed on Friday, 23 February 2022.

To submit, please send your application by email to 

If you have any questions about the Joe Michell Award, please contact Aggie Calabro on 1300 106 106.