atWork Australia

jobactive | Disability Employment Services | NDIS | atWork Australia

Ian had been unemployed for more than two years. Ian had limited skills, no formal qualifications. Like many Australians, Ian was feeling the pressure of the housing crisis and the minimal options for secure accommodation. Ian was fortunate to find residency at a local caravan park. Although, due to his challenges to find secure employment, he often found it difficult to pay his rent and feared he could end up homeless.

It is no secret and is commonly known that older Australian’s find it more difficult to secure employment after the age of fifty-five. However, this age group can bring knowledge to the workplace that can’t be learnt in a textbook, and only through life experience.

Ian decided to take a proactive approach to finding employment; he put his pride aside and took a courageous step and accepted support on his employment journey. Ian came to atWork Australia’s Disability Employment Services office in Nowra, NSW, to get tailored support on his employment journey. When Ian met his Job Coach, Sharon, he explained that he was eager to find work, but he needed support to identify and secure employment. Sharon outlined that when it comes to finding employment, there is no one size fits all approach, she wanted to get to know Ian; learn about his employment history, his skills and abilities, so that she could develop a plan that encompassed Ian’s goals and capabilities to ensure he could find sustainable employment. As a starting point, Sharon focused on supporting Ian to develop his employability skills, building his confidence, working on his communication skills and teaching him fundamental computer skills to access emails.

While Ian was meeting with Sharon on a regular basis and taking positive steps towards employment, a friend of his recommended a cleaning position to him with Manildra Group. With Sharon’s support, Ian submitted a strong application and was successful in securing the position.

For Ian, this is more than just a job, it is a life changing opportunity. He has now been able to move from the caravan park into a self-contained unit. To put into words just how determined Ian was to start work; every day at 6am, rain, hail or shine, Ian happily takes a forty-minute walk to work. Ian said, “I really enjoy this job. I love to contribute and support the team.” Sharon, said,” When I talk to Ian, I think he has remarkable resilience, unwavering determination, and an innate spirit of positivity.”

When we asked Ian, what his advice would be to other people who may be facing challenges to find employment, it was simple, Ian said, “Just do it, sometimes you don’t have a choice, you just have to find the motivation.”

With thirty-one per cent of Australian businesses reporting difficulties with staff shortages, it makes good business sense to hire those people with years of experience, a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn[1].

atWork Australia work with clients, not only through support that can help an individual overcome their barriers like Ian has, but through practical and financial support to receive the right training or education that will build skills to lead to sustainable employment.


To find out more about atWork Australia’s support services, visit:



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