Colleen makes a breakthrough as an admin assistant and takes a step towards her dream to be a self-published author.
“You’re my 28th employment consultant,” said Colleen when she met me at our first appointment, to which I immediately replied, “Well, it must be a sign then because 28 is my lucky number.” Little did I know that 28 would indeed prove to be a lucky number for Colleen.
As most job seekers’ journeys begin, Colleen’s started with learning to trust her new EC. Colleen had been unemployed for over 4 years and that meant she had been with a couple of DES providers in the past, so I think she was starting to feel a bit over it all. It took serious time and consistency for us to strengthen our professional bond. I believed it happened when she decided to share one of her biggest passions with me: writing and her plans of becoming a self-published author.
Every fortnight she would come to our Cannington office, do some job search online for 45 minutes and then spend 10 telling me about her journey in becoming a writer, everything that she had found out about publishing her novel, whom she had spoken and written to enquire further, what she had to do next, etc.
From what she relayed I could pick up some fundamental competencies that could certainly be transferred to a workplace, such as: organisational skills, effective communication, time management, and most importantly, motivation and initiative.
In our next appointment we discussed that it might be a good idea for her to make use of her skill set assisting a community-based agency with their administration, as she was organised, well-spoken and could certainly contribute for a good cause. Although Colleen was already volunteering 2 hours per week doing content research for a community-based radio station, we agreed to complement this role with another one (more admin related).
The agreement was that she would do it for at least 3-6 months and that she would have to do at least 4 hours per week so that she could work towards 3 main goals: 1) building her work capacity, 2) get some relevant current experience and 3) get a current referee other than me.
We applied to a couple of volunteer roles through Go Volunteer website and she secured a volunteer administration and office assistant role with an agency that helps the homeless. Colleen had been doing that for a couple of months (she told me she was really enjoying it) until I heard back from a company that had attended an employer sundowner advising that they were looking to hire an admin assistant. As they wanted to be certain that Colleen would be a good fit, we organised a work experience program to trial Colleen. This represented a big jump for Colleen’s work capacity as she would be moving from working for 4 hours per week to 10 per week for a whole month.
The goal was to get a job offer at the end of the 4 week trial period, so we devised a support plan to assist Colleen thrive, which included interventions such as: connecting her with Dress for Success for assistance with work attires and tips on self-presentation, liaising with her physio for pain management strategies for her back condition, workplace education regarding specific disability issues, detailed job analysis and development of systematic instructions in duties, access to Government incentives, amongst others.
Designing and implementing this plan carefully allowed us to foresee and map potentially required workplace modifications and special equipment for Colleen, should she got offered the job.
And guess what? Colleen did get the job offer, accepted it and has been employed as a casual admin assistant since April, working on average 20 hours per week. As for the special equipment, we were able to get a special chair with lumbar support and a stand up desk for Colleen through Job Access and their Employment Assistance Fund. Well done Colleen!
If you’re looking for your next star employee get in touch with Workpower, a free disability employment service that matches businesses with the right people. Contact us here or at 1800 610 665 today!