Sam Khawam
Sam Khawam

Sam Khawam, a 54-year-old former self-employed gardener, once faced a number of barriers to finding employment and reaching his major goal – to get a job and get off benefits.

Drawing on his discipline as a martial arts black belt Mr Khawam maintained focus on his goal -despite a range of complex health challenges.

“Being off work nearly three years and feeling unwell gets really depressing,” Mr Khawam said. “After being my own boss most of my life I wasn’t used to needing so much help.”

His physical disability had led to depression and anxiety but Mr Khawam’s strong fitness base and a lifetime of self-discipline was recognised by the atWork Australia team. Mr Khawam used the support well. With atWork Australia’s help, he was soon building up his ability to work increased hours and finding motivation again.

“The job finder (atWork Australia) did their best for me and I’m grateful for that,” he said.

After advocating with his employer about Mr Khawam’s need to have occasional time off to manage his health, the Ryde atWork Australia team placed him in a flexible job at Woolworths. Mr Khawam has now worked within the Belrose based Replenishment Team stacking shelves for more than six months.

Mr Khawam said drawing on his personal discipline, something he regularly works on via his martial arts practices, helped him meet his work responsibilities. He says his new mindset helps with planning his day and meeting deadlines and expectations.

“It’s a busy and a friendly place where I work,” says Mr Khawam, who has built confidence in his ability to maintain up to 25 hours work per week without negatively impacting his health.

Mr Khawam’s time on employment benefits is now just a memory. Maintaining permanent part-time hours, or as much work as his condition and employer allow, is his new goal.

The atWork Australia team placed a great worker with a flexible employer. By advocating for appropriate hours and duties, they matched their needs, creating a win for employee and employer. What’s more, they provided support after employment to ensure it worked well and supported Mr Khawam’s health needs.

Mr Khawam hopes his story inspires other jobseekers toward better health as well as discipline in their job search.

“It’s definitely all worth it once you find the right job,” he said.

atWork Australia work tirelessly to assist our clients in overcoming their barriers to finding meaningful and sustainable employment. Call us on 1300 080 856 or enquire online today to see how we can help you.