Jack grew up in Melbourne, but when their family decided to relocate interstate to the small beachside community of Nambucca, they had to leave the city life behind.
Moving to a town, in a new state, where they didn’t know anyone caused Jack to feel isolated and anxious.
Jack is a part of the LGBTIQA+ community and identifies as being a non-binary person, preferring to be referred to using the pronouns they/them/their.
The increased anxiety triggered the development of a verbal tic, which becomes worse when they are stressed or meeting new people.
“The tics are really recent, I’ve had physical tics for a long time, but I haven’t had verbal versions. They have gotten a lot worse since moving here because I stopped talking to people and reclused,” said Jack.
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Before their move, Jack was linked with ETC’s Transition to Work (TtW) Program for support and started phone appointments with their Youth Advisor Tracy.
Tracy began working with Jack to assess their barriers, skills and goals moving forward.
“The biggest issue for me is that I have a lot of anxiety, hence the tics. Handing out my Resume and attending interviews became a trigger. So, I decided to try to get more sociable jobs, to normalize situations and become more confident in speaking,” said Jack.
Jack knew breaking through their anxiety cycle would make it easier to find work and meet people in the long term.
“From a Youth Advisors’ point of view, we don’t see anxiety as a barrier. We see it as a roadblock that we eventually will get through,” explained Tracy.
“We just break it down slowly and do whatever we can to get our young customers to where they want to be,” she continued.
Tracy introduced Jack to ETC Business Relationship Advisor Kylie, and together they started looking for employment opportunities.
“Jack isn’t the sort of a person who easily puts themselves out in front of people, which is why we recommended the Youthie for them, because it was a good space to meet like-minded people,” said Tracy.
“Jack was already involved with the Youthie before they started their Traineeship. They were doing some art classes there, which is a part of how we got onto the idea,” said Kylie.
Jack’s role at the Youthie involves helping with all administrative and online tasks, such as creating online documents, working on the website and social media platforms, plus helping to push stronger community engagement.
“I also help administrate the local gay group ‘let’s be gay’, which is quite fun as an LGBTIQA+ plus person. I like to be able to spend time with other people like me,” said Jack.
The Youthie has helped Jack make more friends and meet like-minded people in the community.
“Jack gives us that young person’s perspective, plus they’ve got a really good eye for design,” said Youthie Board Member Deidre.
“They’ve brought lots of great skills, like helping me conquer my problems with Google and assisting to build our website,” she continued.
Jack is powering through their Certificate III in Business and overcoming their anxiety barriers in leaps and bounds.
“It’s great to see that Jack is a lot more confident now. I think it’s opened them up, which has been great,” said Kylie.
“When I visit Jack for Post-Placement Support, they’re always joking and smiling; and like to tell me what they’ve been doing as a part of their Traineeship,” said Kylie.
In the future, Jack would like to create more awareness around the barriers they have had to overcome and to help other people in the same position.
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