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Ceharnie from ETC provided Damien with career help

Aboriginal man Damien Roberts is feeling on top of the world after gaining his first job, thanks to the support from ETC and the New Careers for Aboriginal People (NCAP) Program.

Damien, who finished High School six years ago, has struggled to gain employment and even tried doing some volunteer work just so he could gain some skills.

Knowing he needed some extra support, Damien approached ETC to sign up for their NCAP Program.

“Damien attended regular mentoring sessions with us where we supported him with a new resume, looked at building his confidence and skills with interviews, goal setting, gaining his Learner Driver license and a Whitecard. We asked where he wanted to see himself in the next 12 months and worked towards achieving that,” said ETC Aboriginal Employment Advisor Ceharnie Martin.

“Damien is a hands-on, outdoors kind of person who wanted to work for someone in a nature based role. I had Tim from Summerland Tree Services approach me offering a position as a Tree Lopper – so I arranged an interview for Damien. The employer loved him, offered him a job and he’s been there now for six months.”

Damien said it was great having something to look forward to in the morning.

“Some days can be a bit hard getting up out of bed, but once I’m out of the house and at work – I’m loving it. When I come home, I feel like I’ve enjoyed my day and look forward to the next,” Damien said.

“My boss Tim has been really helpful as well – he gives me a lift every day to work.”

Damien is saving towards a car, a house and to gain some independence.

“Being independent is what I’m looking forward to the most,” he said.

Damien thanked ETC and the NCAP Program for their support.

“ETC helped me with everything and that’s why I’m here today. I thought seeing them would be like school but it’s completely different. They actually want you to succeed and are always pushing you,” he said.

Ms Martin said she had seen a huge transition in Damien from when she first met him to now.

“He had enthusiasm and a great attitude already, but now I see him walking around with his head held high. You can see he is really proud of himself, has a lot more confidence and is buzzing,” she said.

“I’m really blessed to be in this role. The reward to see someone address their barriers and reach some goals – it’s really amazing.”

Damien shares his advice for other job seekers:

“Just keep a smile on your face every day – even if you have to fake it. Stay around positive people. If people want to be negative around you then walk away from them. The more positive you are, the more chances you’ll have. I’ve stayed positive and look where I am now.”

Ceharnie encourages other Aboriginal people in the community who need support to come and speak to ETC.

“NCAP is a really great program where you can come and talk to us in a safe environment. If you’re not comfortable meeting in an office we can go outside for a walk and a chat. We can help you address some of the barriers that may be holding you back from gaining work and support you along the way. It’s a really  great opportunity for those people who are ready to make a change and are serious about gaining new skills and finding work,” she said.

The New Careers for Aboriginal People (NCAP) program is funded by the Department of Education, Training Services NSW, and aims to assist Aboriginal people into employment and/or training.

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