It’s said you can’t judge a book by its cover and this is certainly the case with Emma, who has not only rediscovered her inner extrovert, but has also found new work that she loves and has changed her whole life for the better.
When Emma, 20, approached the Mandurah office of atWork Australia in mid-2019, she had been out of work for three years. She was reserved and lacking the confidence required to apply for jobs.
Her Disability Employment Services Job Coach, Lauren, said Emma had experience working in hospitality and wanted to re-enter the industry, but lacked the skills to prepare cover letters, job applications and resumes.
“Emma presented as somewhat shy and this was holding her back,” Lauren said.
Emma also felt her cerebral palsy was a factor in her finding employment. She had been diagnosed with the medical condition in primary school, and had spent her life since attending physiotherapy sessions to help improve with movement in her legs.
Despite Emma’s reservations, Lauren was positive atWork Australia’s practical, friendly and free service would find the right job for her before long. They wasted no time getting started, with Lauren initially listening to Emma outline her needs and strengths, and unique work and life goals.
Lauren then prepared a job plan that would help get Emma to where she wanted to be. This involved practising Emma’s interviewing skills through mock interviews, cold-calling potential employers, preparing targeted resumes, and applying for online jobs, all the while motivating her and boosting her self-esteem. A wage subsidy would also be offered.
Within weeks the plan worked, bringing forth “an amazingly bright and bubbly Emma”, a change that was crucial in seeing her land a job with a local café. She has now been working at the venue for six months, allowing her to move out of her family home and into her first ever rental property. Emma has also made a whole new set of friends, allowing her to go out and enjoy life again.
“I am very happy with my new job, the team there are very nice and it has built my confidence,” Emma said.
Lauren, who is still in touch with Emma and her mother, said she was glad to see her growing to become truly independent.