Ping is once again employed and looking after his health needs after a string of illnesses prevented him from working for two long years.

In mid-2019, Vietnamese-born Ping, 64, approached atWork Australia’s Fairfield office for help after finding he could no longer work in repetitive factory jobs due to his health problems. These include gout, a hand injury, knee and small joint pain, ocular hypertension and sleep apnoea.

His Disability Employment Services Job Coach, Carine, said while Ping had always been a hard worker – for many years as a self-employed wholesaler – he needed extra support due to his ongoing health concerns, his advancing age and limited English language skills.

Carine was certain she could help Ping find employment as he is “the sort of person who will try anything and always give it his best.

“Ping has a fantastic can-do attitude, despite his barriers,” she said.

She used Cantonese to communicate with Ping, as he is fluent in the language, as well as Vietnamese and some Mandarin. Together they created a professional-looking résumé for Ping, and held mock interviews to help him prepare for questions from potential employers.

It didn’t take long for Ping to land a job with a local fruit shop as a general hand, where he helps with packing, stacking, storing of fruit, general cleaning and maintenance, and other tasks as needed.

Knowing that Ping is eager to please and sometimes struggles to say no, Carine often reminds him that he should put his health first and avoid strenuous tasks. Ping also knows that atWork Australia can work with his new employer to resolve potential issues and negotiate duties if needed, as part of its post-placement support program.

Now several weeks into the job, Ping is also considering studying for a retail traineeship offered by atWork Australia.

“The team is really supportive, and I appreciate Carine’s patience in particular. She has accompanied me to Centrelink a few times, and answered any questions I had, sometimes outside of office hours,” he said.

Carine says Ping never let his age or other barriers stop him.

“He should be proud of himself for always being willing to do his best,” she said.

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