Andrew is a young Aboriginal man who is feeling very proud for changing his life around thanks to employment and training support – and hopes that his story might help to inspire others.
After overcoming some legal issues and a battle with mental health, Andrew is now happily working in a job where he is kicking goals both professionally and personally.
He understands and appreciates the support that has helped him to get to where he is now.
“When I was in a bad place in my life, it took me a while to reach out for help…but as soon as I did, life started to get easier,” Andrew said.
Earlier this year Andrew was contacted by ETC staff and advised that the Northern Co-operative Meat Company had teamed up with ETC and TAFE NSW to run a 3 week pre-employment program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The course consisted of units from the Certificate II in Meat Processing (Abattoirs). If successful in completion of the pre-employment course he would be offered full time work at the Casino Abattoirs whilst completing the full qualification.
“When we first approached Andrew with this opportunity, he opened up about the struggles he was having in his personal life and that he needed some support,” said Aboriginal Employment Advisor Ceharnie Martin.
“Andrew was at first apprehensive about the program but was going to give it his best shot. He passed a medical exam, drug test and completed the program and was offered employment. On the day that he was offered employment he was advised that out of a group of 18 participants he has scored the best results and shown a real aptitude for this study area. Andrew was surprised as he had completed year 10, 7 years prior and had undertaken no study since completing school. For him, this was great achievement.”
Andrew began paid employment in August, but had a few more hurdles to overcome.
“He was actually homeless at the time, so we assisted him with emergency accommodation and car registration so he could get to and from work,” Ms Martin said.
“He also receives ongoing support and mentoring from our New Careers for Aboriginal People (NCAP) Program.”
Fast forward 4 months and Andrew is still working at the Abattoirs and has made a really good impression on his employer.
“Starting at a meatworks is always a daunting task, especially the requirement for medicals and Q fever vaccinations and working in the production areas where we produce our product. From the very beginning Andrew has been a more than willing employee,” said Chris Calear the Training Coordinator for Northern Co-operative Meat Company.
“Working in one of our offal rooms Andrew has pitched in and since he started in August has been tasked with various new skills and has learnt about three quarters of the roles in the room – quite an achievement. His leading hand reported to me that when he finishes a role and there is nothing more to do he will ask to do more in another area. This is testament to Andrew’s commitment to his work and in doing so he has been rewarded for his effort having a pay increase of around 10% since he started.”
Andrew thanked ETC and his employer for their support.
“My experience with ETC has been really good, the staff there have been awesome to deal with. My boss also looks after me really well and it’s been great to learn new roles,” he said.
Andrew is determined to keep working his way up the ladder and earn good money so he can have a stable home to live in and get his kids back.
“I’m proud of where I have got to. My advice for others is to stick it out and if you need help then definitely seek it!”
Are you Aboriginal and looking for employment and training support?
The NCAP program aims to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to find work or improve their current job situation.
ETC’s NCAP Aboriginal Employment Advisors link Aboriginal people with training pathways and employment opportunities and provide practical assistance such as developing a resume or applying for a job. They have strong connections in the local community and will listen and support you to help you achieve your goals.
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