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Emma’s story

Emma was an employment consultant at Multiple Solutions for five years. But it was only a few years ago that Emma was in a similar position to many of the clients she worked with every day. Living with health issues herself, she was finding it hard to manage her studies while searching for a stable job that would suit her needs.

“I’d just failed another semester at uni and Centrelink were warning me that my Youth Allowance would cease soon because I’d go over the allowable time limit to complete my degree,” Emma said. That’s when her journey with Multiple Solutions began.

Emma had her job capacity assessment with Multiple Solutions, but decided not to go ahead with her job search until she was ready. “I worked hard with a Psychologist for a couple of years to be able to use public transport, eventually taking a bus into the city with great difficulty to go to a jewellery making class that was held once a week.”

Emma says it was clear she wasn’t going to become a talented jeweller, but she did learn that she really liked helping people. This feeling encouraged her to save her money to eventually enrol in a community services course at TAFE a year later.

“The first few weeks of TAFE were excruciating and I wanted to quit, but because I’d saved so hard I kept at it. I’d get into the city an hour before class started to give myself time to sob and be physically sick in the toilets,” Emma says.

“As time passed I discovered that TAFE was a safe environment and I made friends. My time spent in the toilet cubicle every Monday morning was replaced with meeting a fellow student for a coffee. I flourished as this course was the right one for me and, even though I had to take six months off due to ill-health, I went on to complete a diploma.”

Emma’s confidence had skyrocketed and she was now feeling willing to start working. After sending out her resume and receiving no response, she came across an opportunity in Port Augusta. “I wrote up a cover letter, and fumbled my way through a duties and responsibilities statement. A week later I was heading to Whyalla for an interview, borrowing money from my parents to pay for my interview clothes, petrol and accommodation.”

Emma landed the job in Port Augusta, which meant relocating. She took out an advanced loan to fund her move to a small caravan park at the foothills of the Flinders Rangers, 30 minutes from town. Her husband was preparing to join her, when the Government announced it was no longer funding the program she worked for, and she would be moving back to Adelaide.

With some experience under her belt, Emma got some interviews for potential jobs but her lack of interview skills let her down. Until she eventually landed an interview with Multiple Solutions. “I disclosed my disability in such a manner that it showed I was responsible in my management of it. It also meant that I had the ability to both connect, motivate and support clients to get into work.”

“What became apparent to me early on was how envious I was of the support Disability Employment Services participants received from Multiple Solutions and how much easier my transition into work could have been,” Emma says.  

“It could have meant a referral to community class to build up my communication skills and confidence, reimbursement towards my courses, interview clothes and petrol, reviewing my cover letter and resume, or mock interview training. Post placement support over telephone or email would have been welcomed when I was navigating my first real job in Port Augusta. Even a pat on the back well done for six months in continuous work.”

“It took the right people at the right time to believe in my ability to participate when I often didn’t – this is where an Employment Consultant can help the most.”

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